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A Crime Without Punishment 

Edited by 

Anna M. Cienciala, Natalia S. Lebedeva. and Wojciech Materski 


Each volume in the series Annals of Communism will publish selected and 
previously inaccessible documents from former Soviet state and party archives 
in a narrative that develops a particular topic in the history of Soviet and in- 
ternational communism. Separate English and Russian editions will be pre- 
pared. Russian and Western scholars work together to prepare the documents 
for each volume. Documents are chosen not for their support of any single in- 
terpretation but for their particular historical importance or their general 
value in deepening understanding and facilitating discussion. The volumes are 
designed to be useful to students, scholars, and interested general readers. 



Jonathan Brent, Yale University Press 


Vadim A. Staklo 


Ivo Banac, Yale University 
Zbigniew Brzezinski, Center for 

Strategic and International Studies 
William Chase, University of Pitts- 

Victor Erlich, Yale University 
Friedrich I. Firsov, former head of the 

Comintern research group at 

Sheila Fitzpatrick, University of 


Gregory Freeze, Brandeis University 

John L. Gaddis, Yale University 

J. Arch Getty, University of California, 

Los Angeles 
Jonathan Haslam, Cambridge Univer- 

Robert L. Jackson, Yale University 
Czeslaw Milosz (deceased), University 

of California, Berkeley 
Norman Naimark, Stanford University 
Gen. William Odom, Hudson Institute 

and Yale University 
Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist 

Mark Steinberg, University of Illinois, 

Strobe Talbott, Brookings Institution 
Mark Von Hagen, Columbia Univer- 

Piotr Wandycz, Yale University 


K. M. Anderson, director, Russian 
State Archive of Social and Political 
History (RGASPI) 

N. N. Bolkhovitinov, Russian Acad- 
emy of Sciences 

A. O. Chubaryan, Russian Academy of 

V. P. Danilov, Russian Academy of 

A. A. Fursenko, secretary, Department 
of History, Russian Academy of Sci- 
ences (head of the Russian Editorial 

V P. Kozlov, director, ROSARKHIV 

N. S. Lebedeva, Russian Academy of 

S. V Mironenko, director, State 

Archive of the Russian Federation 


O. V Naumov, assistant director, 

E. O. Pivovar, Moscow State Univer- 

V. V. Shelokhaev, president, Associa- 

Ye. A. Tyurina, director, Russian State 
Archive of the Economy (RGAE) 


A Crime Without Punishment 

Edited by 

Anna M. Cienciala, United States of America 
Natalia S. Lebedeva, Russian Federation 
Wojciech Mater ski, Poland 

Documents translated by Marian Schwartz with 
Anna M. Cienciala and Maia A. Kipp 

Yale University Press 
New Haven & London 

Disclaimer: Some images in the printed version of this book are not available for 
inclusion in the eBook. 

This volume has been prepared with the cooperation of the Federal 
Archival Agency of Russia (ROSARKHIV) and the Head Office of State 
Archives in Poland in the framework of an agreement concluded among 
them and Yale University Press. 

Copyright © 2007 by Yale University, the Federal Archival Agency of Russia 
(ROSARKHIV), and the Head Office of State Archives in Poland. 
All rights reserved. 

This book may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, including illustrations, in any form 
(beyond that copying permitted by Sections 107 and 108 of the U.S. Copyright Law and 
except by reviewers for the public press), without written permission from the publishers. 

Designed by James J. Johnson and set in Sabon Roman type by The Composing Room of 

New York. 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publicatioii Data 

Katyn : a crime without punishment / edited by Anna M. Cienciala, Natalia S. Lebedeva, 
and Wojciech Materski ; documents translated by Marian Schwartz with Anna M. Cien- 
ciala and Maia A. Kipp. 

p. cm. — (Annals of Communism) 

Translated from Polish and Russian; documents selected from previously published 
volumes of Katyn documents. 

Includes bibliographical references and index. 
ISBN978-0-300-10851-4 (alk. paper) 

1. Katyn Mas Lissia, 1940 — Sources. I. Cienciala, Anna M. 

II. Lebedeva, N. S. (Natal'ia Sergeevna). III. Materski, Wojciech. 
D8o 4 .S65K359 2007 

94°-54'°5'°9472-7— dc22 2007005082 

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. 

The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability 

of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council 

on Library Resources. 

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 

Yale University Press gratefully acknowledges the financial sup- 
port given for this publication by the John M. Olin Foundation, 
the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Historical Research 
Foundation, Roger Milliken, the Rosentiel Foundation, Lloyd H. 
Smith, Keith Young, Jeremiah Milbank, and the David Woods 
Kemper Memorial Foundation. 

Yale University Press wishes to acknowledge the contribution of 
the editorial boards of the Russian and Polish volumes of Katyn 
documents in cooperation with whom we are publishing this 


Vladimir Kozlov (chair) 
Aleksandr Chubaryan 
V. S. Khristoforov 
Natalia S. Lebedeva 


Nelli Petrosova 

Vladimir Volkov (deceased) 

Vladimir A. Zolotarev 


Daria Nalecz (chair) 
Aleksander Gieysztor 
Bozena Lojek 
Czesiaw Madajczyk 
Wojciech Materski 
Andrzej Przewoznik 

Ewa Rosowska 

Jerzy Skowronek (deceased) 

Stefan Sniezko 

Marek Tarczyriski 

Jedrzej Tucholski 

Boleslaw Woszczyriski 

There comes a time when certain events find their own unavoidable place in 

history, which belongs only to them. This is the case here. 

Aleksandr N. Yakovlev, preface to Katyn: Flenniki Neobiavlennoi Voiny 

Be faithful to the truth and to its transmission, for truth endures; truth will not go 
away. Truth will not pass or change. 
Pope John Paul II 


Preface ix 

Note on the Documents xv 

Notes on Russian Transliteration and Polish Pronunciation xx 

List of Abbreviations and Acronyms xxii 

part i. Prisoners of an Undeclared War, 

23 August 1939-5 March 1940 1 

part 11. Extermination, March-June 1940 121 

part in. Katyn and Its Echoes, 1940 to the Present 206 

List of Documents with Sources 355 

Appendix of Camp Statistics 377 

Biographical Sketches 383 

Glossary of Organizations and Political Parties 415 

Maps and Aerial Photographs 421 

Notes 445 

Illustration Credits 537 

Index 539 

Illustrations follow page 120 

This page intentionally left blank 


This American edition of the Katyn documents contains English trans- 
lations of selected documents published in the two Russian and four 
Polish volumes coedited by Dr. Natalia S. Lebedeva of the Institut 
Vseobschei Istorii RAN [Institute of General History, Russian Acad- 
emy of Sciences], Moscow, and Professor Wojciech Materski, director 
of the Instytut Studiow Politycznych PAN [ISPPAN — Institute of Po- 
litical Studies of the Polish Academy of Sciences], Warsaw, and their 
assistants. Natalia Lebedeva was one of the first Russian historians to 
find the documents in hitherto closed Russian archives. In 1994 she 
published the first extensively documented book on Katyn, Katyn: 
Prestuplenie Protiv Chelovechestva [Katyn: A Crime Against Human- 
ity] (Moscow, 1994); Polish edition, Katyn: Zbrodnia Przeciw Ludz- 
kosci and Suplement (Warsaw, 1998), as well as several books and 
many articles. Wojciech Materski is a well-known historian of Polish- 
Soviet relations in the interwar and World War II periods. He has 
written twenty-three books, including one on interwar Polish-Soviet 
relations, Na Widecie: II Rzeczpospolita wobec Sowietow, 1918-1943 
[The Outpost: The Second Republic Facing the Soviets, 1918-1943] 
(Warsaw, 2005), as well as many articles and chapters in books. 

The three parts in this American Katyn volume are roughly equiva- 
lent to the divisions in the already published Russian and Polish vol- 
umes. I wrote new introductions to each part and am fully responsible 
for the interpretations and opinions expressed in them, which do not 
always reflect those of the coeditors. These introductions are aimed at 
English-language readers interested in the Katyn crime but not familiar 
with the history of Polish-Soviet/Russian relations and Katyn's place 


in it. The endnotes, which I prepared, give information provided in the 
Russian and Polish volumes supplemented with information from ad- 
ditional English-language publications as well as other Russian and 
Polish works, especially those that have appeared since 2001, when the 
second Russian and third Polish volumes were published. The fourth 
Polish volume appeared in April 2007. New information has also be- 
come available over the years, up to and including the first reports in 
early August 2006 on finding Polish military insignia and personal 
items near the village of Bykovnia [Polish: Bykownia], now on the 
northeastern outskirts of Kiev, Ukraine, which is the burial site of tens 
of thousands of Ukrainian victims of the Stalinist Terror. 

I am indebted to several people for their help. First, I would like to 
thank Dr. Lebedeva and Professor Materski for their answers to my 
many questions over the years. A joint session with Natalia Lebe- 
deva — made possible by Yale University Press at its offices in New 
Haven in December 2000 — was particularly useful, as were several 
conversations and numerous e-mail exchanges with Wojciech Mater- 
ski, who also graciously permitted me to read photocopies of edited 
Polish documents during an earlier visit to Warsaw funded by Yale 
University Press. I also thank both of them for their comments and cor- 
rections to the proofs. I am grateful to Professor Inessa Yazhborov- 
skaia, a Russian political scientist, for sending me a copy of the book 
on the Katyn "syndrome" in Soviet-Polish and Russian-Polish rela- 
tions that she edited with the assistance of a former Russian prosecutor 
in the Russian Katyn investigation and a Russian historian of Poland. 
The book, edited and written by I. S. Yazhborovskaia, A. Yu. Yablo- 
kov, and V. S. Parsadanova, is titled Katynskii Sindrom v Sovetsko- 
Polskikh i Rossiisko-Polskikb Otnosheniakh [The Katyn Syndrome in 
Polish-Soviet and Polish-Russian Relations] (Moscow, 2001). 

I owe a great debt of gratitude to Professor Emeritus Janusz K. Za- 
wodny, the author of the first scholarly study of Katyn, Death in the 
Forest: The Story of the Katyn Massacre (Notre Dame, Ind., 1962). It 
is still of great value as a survey and analysis, based on the extensive 
personal testimonies and documentary sources available at the time. I 
would also like to thank him for giving and lending me several impor- 
tant recent Polish publications on Katyn, mostly unavailable in Amer- 
ican libraries. 

I would like to thank Dr. Maciej M. Siekierski, curator, East Euro- 
pean Collections, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace, 


Stanford, California, for lending me his personal copy of an invaluable 
collection of data and information, Facts and Documents Concerning 
Polish Prisoners of War Captured by the U.S.S.R. during the 1939 
Campaign (London, 1946), as well as selecting and reproducing some 
German photographs of the Katyn exhumations of 1943. On the basis 
of this selection, Dr. Vadim Staklo, project manager for the Annals of 
Communism series of Yale University Press, had new photographs 
made according to the press's printing requirements, for which I thank 

I would like to express special thanks to Mr. Waclaw Godziemba- 
Maliszewski, the preeminent analyst of German wartime aerial pho- 
tographs of Katyn, Kharkov, and Mednoe, for supplying photographs 
of the same with annotations. I would also like to thank him for pro- 
viding the excellent maps of these regions and supplying the accompa- 
nying annotations (maps 5 -7). Finally, I wish to thank him for helping 
to make a final selection of the German photographs printed in this 
book, as well as for sharing a great deal of valuable information gained 
from many years of studying Katyn and for giving and lending me 
some rare Polish works on Katyn. 

My sincere thanks go to the Polish Katyn expert Mr. Tadeusz 
Pierikowski of Warsaw for sending me copies of his valuable articles 
on Katyn and especially for his help in securing photographs of ex- 
humation work at Kharkov and Mednoe from the Katyn Museum, 
Warsaw. I also wish to thank him for identifying persons in the pho- 
tographs, for providing Dr. Janina Gellert's photographs of the Polish 
War Cemetery at Katyn in 2004 — for which I thank her — and for 
sending me the photograph of the memorial tablet for two Polish offi- 
cers, the older one of whom was his father, artillery captain Ludwik 
Pierikowski, from the Polish War Cemetery in Kharkov. I also wish to 
thank Colonel Zdzislaw Sawicki, who had many photographs made 
for me in June 2001, when he was director of the Katyn Museum, War- 
saw. For technical reasons, only one of these — the composite photo- 
graph of some Polish officers shot at Katyn — was selected for inclu- 
sion in this volume. I would like to thank Dr. Hab. Janusz Cisek, the 
director of the Muzeum Wojska Polskiego [Museum of the Polish 
Army], Warsaw, for permission to have the Katyn Museum photo- 
graphs reproduced in this American volume. 

My thanks also go to Dr. Iwona Korga of the Jozef Pilsudski Insti- 
tute for the Study of Modern Polish History, New York, for photo- 


copies of two items in the institute's Katyn Collection: (i) a March 
1948 issue of Nowy Swiat [New World], a Polish New York newspa- 
per with articles on Katyn and (2) lists of names of Polish prisoners of 
war identified at Katyn in 1943 that were compiled by regional Polish 
Red Cross agencies in Poland in 1944. 

I would like to thank Dr. Simon Schochet of New York for sending 
me copies of his articles on the Jewish officers in the Polish Army, who 
were prisoners and victims in the USSR, for providing the photograph 
of the Chief Rabbi of the Polish Army, Dr. Baruch Steinberg, taken in 
Krakow in 1935, and for supplying the relevant information. Stein- 
berg's name appears on an NKVD list, dated 9 April 1940, of prison- 
ers to be sent from Kozelsk camp to Smolensk Oblast. It is assumed 
that he perished at Katyn. 

I am grateful to Professor Emerita Maia A. Kipp of the Departments 
of Slavic Studies and Theater and Film, University of Kansas, for help 
in translating some complex Russian phrases and terminology. I also 
wish to thank her husband, Dr. Jacob Kipp, a specialist on Russian/So- 
viet military history, a professor at the Command and General Staff 
College (CGSC), Leavenworth, Kansas, and an adjunct professor of 
history at the University of Kansas, for information on some high-level 
Soviet military commanders. My thanks also go to Dr. Bruce Menning, 
a historian of the Russian and Soviet armies, a professor at CGSC, and 
an adjunct professor of history at the University of Kansas, for trans- 
lating some Russian military ranks, for giving me copies of his confer- 
ence papers on the Soviet armed forces in 1938-1939 and a volume of 
Russian documents on Polish-Soviet military relations during World 
War II, and for lending me volumes of documents on Soviet state secu- 
rity in 1938-1941. 

I would like to thank Pam LeRow and Paula Courtney of the Col- 
lege of Liberal Arts and Sciences Word Processing Center, University of 
Kansas, for their help in the initial stages of this work. 

I owe a great debt of gratitude to my former graduate student Judith 
Olsak-Glass, without whose major input this book could not have 
been completed. While working with me over four years, she made 
many helpful comments and suggestions; tirelessly inserted my many 
additions and changes in several versions of the manuscript; caught 
spelling and grammar mistakes in both English and Polish; caught er- 
rors of content and source reference; checked and standardized refer- 
ences; made a combined, computerized graphic of the camp and exe- 


cution site sketch maps in the first two Polish volumes of documents 
on Katyn; helped to select and prepare the photographs; and helped 
greatly with proofreading and with the index. I would also like to 
thank her husband, Dr. Robert (Bob) Glass, for taking the time to read 
parts of the manuscript and for offering insightful comments and sug- 
gestions. I am, of course, responsible for any errors and omissions. 

I would like to thank Jonathan Brent, editorial director, Yale Uni- 
versity Press, and Dr. Vadim Staklo for initiating and supporting this 
project over many years. My special thanks go to my manuscript edi- 
tor, Mary Pasti, for her detailed comments and suggestions and for her 
painstaking attention to detail, which averted many pitfalls and errors. 
She also is responsible for many clarifications in the endnotes. 

Last but not least, I wish to thank my friend Romana Boniecka for 
creating the environment that made my work possible, even though 
she did not always share my views or choice of research topics. 

Anna M. Cienciala 

This page intentionally left blank 

Note on the Documents 

President Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of glasnost, or open discussion 
of past and present problems, which took off in 1987-1988, led to 
public discussion of the Stalinist period in the USSR. This, in turn, 
opened hitherto closed state archives to Russian historians who found 
documents concerning the Polish prisoners of war held in the three 
NKVD special camps of Kozelsk, Ostashkov, and Starobelsk in 1939- 
1940. Most of the prisoners were massacred by the NKVD at Katyn, 
Kalinin [Tver], and Kharkov [Kharkiv] in April-May 1940. The im- 
minent publication of articles by these historians, plus pressure on the 
Polish government by a Polish public who desired the truth and the 
Polish government's pressure on the Soviet government, led Moscow 
to admit Soviet responsibility for the crime on 13 April 1990, after a 
cover-up that lasted half a century (1940-1990). The Soviet, then Rus- 
sian, investigation of the Katyn crime began in 199 1, and on 14 Octo- 
ber 1992, Boris Yeltsin, president of the Russian Federation, made 
public the contents of the special "Packet no. 1" in the Presidential 
Archives, which included the key Politburo decision of 5 March 1940 
to shoot the Polish prisoners of war, along with documents on the So- 
viet cover-up. At the same time, copies of these documents were trans- 
mitted to Polish President Lech Walesa in Warsaw. 

Meanwhile, in pursuance of an agreement signed on 27 April 1992 
by representatives of the Head Office of State Archives in Poland and 
the Federal Archival Agency of Russia, a protocol was signed in Feb- 
ruary 1993 establishing the principles for the publication of the Katyn 
documents. They were to appear in two parallel versions: the Russian 
volumes with texts in the original version, and the Polish volumes in 

Note on the Documents 

Polish translation. Both versions were to have the same editorial board. 
Furthermore, in June 1992 the Polish Ministry of Defense established 
a Military Archival Commission whose members were given access to 
Russian archives; they photocopied about 200,000 documents per- 
taining to the Polish prisoners of war in the three special camps, and 
deposited the copies in the Central Military Archives, Warsaw. 

The chief responsible editor on the Russian side is Dr. Natalia S. 
Lebedeva of the General History Institute, Russian Academy of Sci- 
ences, Moscow; the chief responsible editor on the Polish side is Pro- 
fessor Wojciech Materski, director of the Institute of Political Studies, 
Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw; both are coeditors of the present 
American volume. Professor Materski also translated and edited the 
Russian Katyn documents given by President Boris Yeltsin of the Rus- 
sian Federation to President Lech Walesa of Poland in mid-October 
1992. They were first published in Poland under the title Katyn: Doku- 
menty Ludobojstwa [Katyn: Documents of Genocide] (Warsaw, 1992). 
The English edition was published as Katyn: Documents of Genocide 
(Warsaw, 1993). 

The first Polish volume of the joint publication was titled Katyn: 
Dokumenty Zbrodni [Katyn: Documents of a Crime], volume z:]ency 
Nie Wypowiedzianej Wojny, Sierpien 1939-Marzec 1940 [Prisoners 
of an Undeclared War, August 1939-March 1940] (Warsaw, 1995). 
The parallel Russian volume, titled Katyn: Plenniki Neobiavlennoi 
Voiny [Katyn: Prisoners of an Undeclared War] (Moscow, 1997), ap- 
peared two years later in the series Rossiia, XX Vek: Dokumenty [Rus- 
sia, the Twentieth Century: Documents]. The documents published in 
these two volumes are almost exactly the same. The Russian volume 
also has a supplement, Rasstrel [Death by Shooting], with facsimiles of 
key documents on the extermination. The second Polish volume, titled 
Katyn: Dokumenty Zbrodni, volume 2: Zaglada, Marzec-Czerwiec 
1940 [Extermination, March-June 1940], appeared in Warsaw in 
1998, and the third, titled Katyn: Dokumenty Zbrodni, volume 3: 
Losy Ocalaiych, Lipiec 1940-Marzec 1943 [The Fate of the Sur- 
vivors, July 1940-March 1943], appeared in 2001. The last Polish vol- 
ume, Katyn: Dokumenty Zbrodni, volume 4: Echa Katynia, Kwiecien 
1943-Marzec 2005 [Echoes of Katyn, April 1943-March 2005] (War- 
saw, 2006), contains many important supplementary materials (most 
previously published), including the full text of the Burdenko Com- 
mission report, as well as diplomatic correspondence; the key docu- 

Note on the Documents 

ments, however, are the same as in the second Russian volume (see be- 
low). This Polish volume was not released until April 2007, too late to 
be fully referenced in the American edition, but matching documents 
are noted in the List of Documents with Sources. All the Polish and 
Russian volumes had the same editors. Lack of funding on the Russian 
side resulted in the publication of only one additional Russian volume, 
edited by the same chief editors who worked on the first Polish and Rus- 
sian volumes and the later Polish volumes; it is titled Katyn: Mart 1940 
g.-Sentiabr zooo g. Rasstrel, Sudby Zhivykh, Ekho Katyni: Dokumenty 
[Katyn: March 1940-September 2000. Execution by Shooting, the Fate 
of the Survivors, the Echoes of Katyn: Documents] and also contains 
facsimiles of documents on extermination. It appeared in Moscow in 
late 2001, thanks to the enormous work of Russian historians and 
archivists, the publisher Ves Mir, and the financial support of the Pol- 
ish Rada Ochrony Pamiexi Walk i M^czeristwa [Council for the Pro- 
tection of the Memory of Combat and Martyrdom]. 

Most of the Russian documents in Part I of the current volume come 
from the Narodny Komissariat Vnutrennykh Del [NKVD, or Nar- 
komvnudel — People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs], specifically 
the NKVD Upravlenie po Delam Voennoplennykh [UPV — Adminis- 
tration for Prisoner-of-War Affairs], whose papers are now housed in 
the Rossiiskii Gosudarstvenny Voenny Arkhiv [RGVA — Russian State 
Military Archive] . Except for a few documents of Polish origin, most 
of the documents in Parts II and III come from the relevant NKVD or- 
ganizations, Soviet government and party bodies, and the government 
of the Russian Federation. The number of documents selected for the 
present volume is small compared with the number of Russian and 
Polish documents already published, but they should provide a repre- 
sentative selection of the whole. 

The Federal Archival Agency of Russia gave permission to Yale Uni- 
versity Press to publish the Russian documents in English. Dr. Daria 
Nalecz, director of the Head Office of State Archives in Poland in 1996- 
2006, gave her permission to include the letter of 15 October 1992 (in 
Anna M. Cienciala's translation) by Polish President Lech Walesa to 
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, as well as to cite another letter by Walesa 
to Yeltsin written earlier that year, for which Anna Cienciala thanks her. 

The Russian documents were very competently translated by Mar- 
ian Schwartz, with some additional translations by Maia Kipp and 
Anna M. Cienciala. Anna Cienciala's translations also include ex- 

Note on the Documents 

cerpts from the Polish-language report on a preliminary visit to Katyn 
in April 1943 by Kazimierz Skarzyriski, secretary general of the Polish 
Red Cross (PRC) in German-occupied Poland, as well as the report, 
which he edited, of the PRC Technical Commission on the exhuma- 
tions in Katyn, April-June 1943. Anna Cienciala would like to thank 
his daughter, Maria Skarzynska of Calgary, Canada, for permission to 
include the translated excerpts in this American volume and for identi- 
fying her father in the photograph of three men praying at the edge of 
a Katyn burial pit. 

Each document is preceded by a brief introduction regarding its con- 
tents. A list of documents appears together with source information at 
the end of the book. In most cases when existing English translations 
of documents are used, they have been modified either to provide a 
more precise translation or to conform to standard English style. 

There are two sets of notes. Footnotes indicate significant original 
corrections and marginal comments on the documents that are essen- 
tial to understanding them. Endnotes give source references and addi- 
tional information. 

In references the abbreviation used for the Russian volumes is KD, 
volume number, slash, document number — for example, KD2/201. 
For the Polish volumes it is KDZ, volume number, slash, document 
number — for example, KDZ1/187. 

The dating given in this volume differs in style from that used in the 
original documents, which was in Roman numerals. It is rendered here 
in Arabic numerals with the sequence of day, month, year. 

Titles of organizations, books, journals, and newspapers are given 
in the original language, followed by a translation. Titles of books and 
periodicals are capitalized in customary English style. Citations are 
given in full at first mention in the endnotes for each part and abbrevi- 
ated thereafter. Polish names appear in the documents in Polish spell- 
ing without the original Russian transliteration; but patronymics, 
when they appear, are retained from the Russian documents for identi- 
fication purposes. (Russian transliteration of Polish names was some- 
times faulty, and in some cases several Poles shared the same family 

The list of abbreviations and acronyms gives the full names of 
archives and organizations mentioned more than once in the text and 

Note on the Documents 

Russian military ranks are literal translations from the Russian, ex- 
cept for the NKVD rank of junior lieutenant, which is rendered as " ist 
lieutenant," and the rank of senior lieutenant, which is rendered as 

Names of countries are given in the English forms customarily used 
at the time if these are available — for example, the Soviet socialist re- 
public was Belorussia, not Byelorussia or Byelorus, and the inhabi- 
tants were Belorussians. The contemporary name is Belarus, and the 
inhabitants are Belarusians. 

Place-names are given in the form used in the documents at the time, 
with contemporary names and names in other languages provided for 
clarity. Most localities in former eastern Poland, now in Belarus and 
Ukraine, have three names, Polish, Russian, and Belorussian or Ukrai- 
nian. Recognized anglicized forms of place-names are used if availa- 
ble — for example, Kiev, Moscow, Warsaw. In other cases, English trans- 
literations from the Russian are used — for example, Katyn, Kharkov, 
Kozelsk, Ostashkov, and Starobelsk. 

It should be noted that the numbers of prisoners in the NKVD doc- 
uments sometimes do not add up. They are given in the documents as 
they appear in the documents. 

Anna M. Cienciala 

Notes on Russian Transliteration and 
Polish Pronunciation 

Russian Transliteration 

Strict Library of Congress transliterations are used for bibliographic in- 
formation. But to make pronunciation easier for the nonspecialist reader, 
some spellings are simplified in the text and documents. 

In Final Position 

ii = y e.g., Podvodsky 

oi = oy e.g., Tolstoy 

nyi = ny e.g., Nagorny 

In Initial Position 

E = Y e.g., Yeltsin 

la = Ya e.g., Yakovlev 

Iu = Yu e.g., Yuri 

In Internal Position e.g., Dostoevsky, Krupskaia, Miliukov 

Hard and Soft Signs 

All soft and hard signs are dropped, and e is generally transliterated as yo, 
unless it follows sb, ch, schch, when it is presented as e — e.g., Semyon, Py- 
otr, Solovyov, Gorbachev, Kruchenykh. 

Although the soft sign is dropped, there is special treatment of the soft 
sign in the sequence C'ev, as in Grigoriev, Vasilievich, Vasielievna, Zino- 
viev; but: Solovyov, Vorobyov. 

Polish Pronunciation 

In pronouncing Polish personal names and place-names, the following En- 
glish equivalents may be a useful guide. 


4 on in "gong" 

£ en in "Bengali" 

6 oo in "booth" 

y i in "bit" or "lip" 


c tz in "blitz," or ts in "cats," except in combinations such as 

ch h as in "hat" 

C, c, ci ch in "cheek" or "cheese," but softer 

cz ch in "church" 

dz /'in "jam" 

j y in "yellow" 

g gin "guest" 

L, I, w in "water" or "wet" 

n initial n in "onion" 

S, s sh in "shut," but softer 

sz sh in "shake" or "shelf" but harder 

rz, Z, i zh in "Zhukov" or s in "pleasure" 

w v in "vowel" or "vine" 

Z, z in final gin "garage" but softer 

Abbreviations and Acronyms 

A name in brackets is the larger administrative unit under which the 
smaller one is subsumed. Full citations of the book titles abbreviated here 
are given in the notes. 







Armee Gruppe Mitte 
Armia Krajowa 


Arkhiv Prezidenta 
Rossiiskoi Federatsii 

Arkhiv Vneshnei 

Politiki Rossiiskoi 

Belorusskaia Sovetskai 


Centralne Archiwum 


(German) Army Group 

Home Army (Polish 

keeping Board [NKVD] 

Archive of the President of 
the Russian Federation 

Autonomous Soviet 
Socialist Republic 

Foreign Policy Archive of 
the Russian Federation 

Belorussian Sov 

t Socialist 

Central Military Archive, 

Central Committee (of the 

Communist Party) 

Communist Party of the 
Soviet Union 

Abbreviations and Acronyms 


Dokumenty Vneshnei 



Arkhiv Rossiiskoi 





Komitet Oborony 


Glavnoe Razveditelnoe 
Upravlenie RKKA/ 
Krasnoi Armii 

Glavnoe Transportnoe 

Glavnoe Upravlenie 


Glavnoe Upravlenie 

Konvoinykh Voisk 
Glavnoe Upravlenie 


Instytut Pamieci 
Narodowej — 
Komisja Scigar 

archival file 

Documents on German 
Foreign Policy 

Documents on Polish- 
Soviet Relations 

Documents on Foreign 

archival collection 

State Archive of the Russian 

State Security 

Main Economic 

Administration [NKVD] 

State Defense Committee 

State Bank 

Main Military Intelligence 
Administration of the 
RKKA/Red Army (short 
name for GRU: 

Main Transport 

Administration [NKVD] 

Main Administration for 
State Security 

Main Administration of 

Convoy Troops [NKVD] 
Main Administration of 

(Labor) Camps [NKVD] 
International Medical 

International Military 

Institute of National 

Remembrance — 

Commission for 

Abbreviations and Acronyms 


Przeciwko Narodoi 

Katyn: Plenniki 

Katyn: Mart 1940 g.— 
Sentiabr 2000 g. 

Katyn: Documents of 

Katyn: Dokumenty 

Katyn: Dokumenty 

Zbrodni, vol. 1: 

Jency Nie 


Wojny, Sierpien 

1939-Marzec 1940 
Katyn: Dokumenty 

Zbrodni, vol. 2: 

Zagtada, Marzec- 

Czerwiec 1940 
Katyn: Dokumenty 

Zbrodni, vol. 3 : 

Losy Ocalalych, 

Lipiec 1940- 

Marzec 1943 
Katyn: Dokumenty 

Zbrodni, vol. 4: 

Echa Katynia, 

Kwiecieri 1943- 

Marzec 2005 



Korpus Okhrany 
[Korpus Ochrony 

Prosecuting Crimes 
against the Polish 

International Red Cross 

Katyn: Prisoners of an 
Undeclared War (Rus- 
sian edition, vol. 1) 

Katyn: March 1940- 
September 2000 (Rus- 
sian edition, vol. 2) 

English edition of KDL 
(Warsaw, 1993) 

Katyn: Documents of 

Katyn: Documents of a 
Crime, vol. 1: Prisoners 
of an Undeclared War, 
August 1939-March 
1940 (Polish edition) 

Katyn: Documents of a 
Crime, vol. 2: Exter- 
mination, March-June 
1940 (Polish edition) 

Katyn: Documents of a 
Crime, vol. 3 : The Fate 
of the Survivors, July 
1940-March 1943 
(Polish edition) 

Katyn: Documents of a 
Crime, vol. 4: Echoes of 
Katyn, April 1943- 
March 2005 (Polish 

Committee for State 

Katyn Memorial Fund 
Polish Frontier Protection 

Abbreviations and Acronyms 



Partiia (Bolshe- 


Komunistyczna Partia 



kaia Sotsialisti- 


^cheskaia Respublika 

Ministerstvo Ino- 

strannykh Del 


Narodny Komissariat 


Narodny Komissariat 


N LesoT K ° miSSariat 


Narodny Komissariat 






Narodny Komissariat 



Narodny Komissariat 


Narodny Komissariat 



Putei Soobshcheniia 


Narodny Komissariat 

Vnutrennikh Del 


Otdel Ispravitelno- 

Trudovykh Kolonii 

OO Osoboe Otdelenie 

OO Osoby Otdel 

op. opis 

OSO Osoboe Soveshchanie 

Communist Party (Bol- 
shevik) of Ukraine 

Polish Communist Party 

Kazakh Soviet Socialist 

archival page or card 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs 

People's Commissariat of 

Ferrous Metallurgy 
People's Commissariat of 

People's Commissariat of 

People's Commissariat of 

See Narkomchermet 
See Narkomfin 
People's Commissariat 

of State Security 

People's Commissariat 


Foreign Affairs 

People's Commissariat 



People's Commissariat 



People's Commissariat 


Internal Affairs 

Department of Correc 

tional Labor Colonies 

(for young criminals) 

Special Section (in camp) 
Special Department 

[NKVD, Moscow] 
inventory within a fond 
Special Board [NKVD] 














Abbreviations and Acronyms 




Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc 

Polskaia Voennaia 

Polska Organizacja 

Polska Partia 

Polska Partia 


Polska Zjednoczona 

Partia Robotnicza 
Rasstrel [supplement to 

KDi, with facsimiles 

of documents on 

Rossiiskii Gosudarstvenny 

Arkhiv Sotsialno- 

Politicheskoi Istorii 
Rada Glowna Opiekuncza 
Rossiiskii Gosudarstvenny 

Voenny Arkhiv 

Krasnaia Armiia 
Rossiiskaia Sovetskaia 

Federativnaia Sotsialis- 

ticheskaia Respublika 
Rossiiskii Tsentr 

Khranenia i Izuchenia 

Dokumentov Noveishei 


Severny Zheleznodorozhny 

Organization of 
Ukrainian Nationalists 

archival folder 

Law and Justice (party) 

archival file 

Russian name for P.O.W. 

prisoner of war 

Polish Military Organi- 

Polish Workers' Party 

Polish Socialist Party 

Polish Red Cross 
United Polish Workers' 

Execution by Shooting 

Russian State Archive 
of Social and Political 

Main Welfare Council 

Russian State Military 

Worker-Peasant Red Army 

Russian Soviet Federated 
Socialist Republic 

Russian Center for the 
Preservation and Study 
of Documents of Recent 

Soviet Documents on 
Foreign Policy (ed. 

Northern Railway camp 

Abbreviations and Acronyms 
















Sojusz Lewicy Demo- 

Sovet Narodnykh 

sotsialno-opasny element 
Sovetskoe Informationnoe 

Sovet Ministrov 

Spetsialny Otdel 

Sovetskaia Sotsialisti- 

cheskaia Respublika 
Soiuz Sovetskikh 


Telegrafnoe Agentsvo 

Sovetskogo Soiuza 
Tsentralny Arkhiv 

Federalnoi Sluzhby 

Bezopastnosti Ros- 

siiskoi Federatsii 
Tsentralny Finansovo- 

Planovy Otdel 
Tsentralny Komitet 

Tsentr Khranenia 


nykh Kollektsii 
Upravlenie Ispravitelno- 

Trudovykh Kolonii 
Ukrainskaia Sovetskaia 


Upravlenie Narodnogo 


Vnutrennikh Del 
Upravlenie po Delam 

Upravlenie po Delam 

Voennoplennykh i 


Democratic Left Alliance 

Council of People's 

socially dangerous element 
Soviet Information Office 

Council of Ministers 
See SNK 

Special Department 

Soviet Socialist Republic 

USSR— Union of Soviet 
Socialist Republics 

Telegraphic Agency of the 
Soviet Union 

Central Archive of the 
Federal Security Service 
of the Russian Federa- 

Central Financial Planning 

Central Committee (of the 
Communist Party) 

Russian Center for 
Preserving Historical- 
Documentary Collections 

OITK Administration 

Ukrainian Soviet Socialist 

NKVD Administration 

Administration for Prisoner- 
of-War Affairs [NKVD] 

Administration for Prisoner- 
of-War and Internee 
Affairs [NKVD] 

Abbreviations and Acronyms 

Otdelenie Lagiera 


Vsesoiuznaia Kom- 
Partiia (Bolshevikov) 

Vsesoiuzny Tsentralny 
Soviet Professionalnykh 

Wolnosc i Niepodleglosc 

Zwiazek Patriotow 

[UPV] Reception, 

Records, and Barracks 

Assignment Section 

Records Registration 

Department [UPV, 

NKVD, Moscow] 
All-Union Communist 

Party (Bolshevik) 

Voice of America 
Ail-Union Central Council 
of Trade Unions 

Freedom and Independence 
Union of Polish Patriots 


This page intentionally left blank 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War, 
23 August 1939-5 March 1940 

Today the word "Katyn" stands for one of the most heinous yet 
least known of the Stalinist crimes: the massacre in spring 1940 
of some 14,500 Polish officers and policemen taken prisoner 
by the Red Army during the September 1939 invasion of eastern Po- 
land. The prisoners were held for several months in three special NKVD 
prisoner-of-war camps at Kozelsk, Ostashkov, and Starobelsk. They 
corresponded with their families and friends from late November- 
early December 1939 until mid-March 1940, when all trace of them 
disappeared. The 7,300 Polish prisoners held in NKVD jails in the 
western regions of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic (now the 
Ukrainian Republic) and the Belorussian Soviet Socialist Republic 
(now the Republic of Belarus) likewise disappeared. After the German 
attack on the USSR, a Polish-Soviet agreement was signed, and in 
1941-1942, Soviet authorities allowed a Polish army to be formed on 
Soviet soil. Army and police officers were badly needed, so Polish mil- 
itary and civilian authorities in the Soviet Union, as well as the Polish 
government-in-exile in London, made numerous inquiries about the 
missing prisoners. Soviet authorities replied either that all prisoners 
had been released or that nothing was known about them. 

In mid-April 1943 the German government announced the discov- 
ery of the remains of several thousand Polish officers from Kozelsk 
camp buried in Katyn Forest, near Smolensk. Joseph Stalin broke off 
relations with the Polish government after it rejected his demand to 
blame the Germans and requested the International Red Cross to in- 
vestigate the massacre. In spring-summer 1943, German, Polish, and 
other forensic experts examined the exhumed bodies and concluded 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

that the crime had been committed on the orders of the Soviet author- 
ities who now accused the Germans. 

For the next forty-seven years successive Soviet governments claimed 
that the Germans were guilty of the Katyn massacre. They engaged in 
a series of cover-ups, the most elaborate of which were the fabricated 
report of the Soviet Commission of Inquiry into the Katyn Massacre 
(the Burdenko Commission) in January 1944 and the fabricated Soviet 
case for German guilt at the International War Crimes Tribunal held at 
Nuremberg in 194 5 - 194 6. Although the Soviet charge was disproved, 
German guilt was proclaimed by all Soviet and other communist gov- 
ernments for almost half a century. 

The historiography of this mass murder shows that the topic is an 
extremely sensitive one. It is clear that the responsibility for the crime 
lies with Stalin and his close collaborators and not with the Russian 
people. They, like the murdered Poles, were the victims of Stalinism, 
but the Poles were a special case. They were not Soviet citizens, and 
most were prisoners of war taken by the Red Army in September 1939. 
All were murdered in the spring of 1940. After a silence of fifty years, 
many Russian documents exposing the truth were revealed and pub- 
lished, so the Katyn massacre is now the most amply documented Stal- 
inist crime. 

The roots of the Katyn massacre lie in the Nazi-Soviet Non- Aggres- 
sion Pact of 23 August 1939, which led to the German-Soviet partition 
of Poland. Katyn must also be viewed, however, in the broad context of 
past Polish-Russian relations — the past was very much in the minds of 
Poles and Russians in 1939, though mainly in the shape of mutually 
negative stereotypes. There was more continuity than change in this 
history, for Russia had played a dominant role in Polish political life in 
one way or another since the early 1700s, when Russian tsars began to 
dominate Polish politics. Catherine the Great annexed most of Poland 
in the partitions of 1772, 1793, and 1795; those lands were ruled by 
Russia until 191 5, when German and Austro-Hungarian Armies 
pushed out the Russians in the course of World War I. Most Russians 
considered this domination natural, but most Poles opposed it, some- 
times with arms in hand. For much of their common history since 
1772, most Poles viewed Russia as the foremost enemy of Polish inde- 
pendence, whereas most Russians viewed the Poles as a threat to the 
security of the empire, and later the USSR. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


Russian-Polish Relations to 191 8 

The key area of Russian-Polish conflict in early modern times, and 
again in the twentieth century, was in the "Borderlands" between the 
two countries, that is, today's Ukraine and Belarus (Belorussia). These 
territories belonged originally to Kievan Rus, the medieval state of the 
Eastern Slavs, but after its destruction by the Tatars in 1240, Lithuania 
expanded into the area. Both the Polish and the Lithuanian states were 
threatened by the Duchy of Muscovy, as well as by the military might 
of the Teutonic Knights of East Prussia. In response, the personal/dy- 
nastic union of Poland and Lithuania was arranged in 1385, when 
Lithuanian Grand Duke Wladyslaw Jagiello [Lithuanian: Jogailo] ac- 
cepted the Catholic religion for his people — many of whom belonged, 
like the Russians, to Orthodox or Eastern Christianity — as the condi- 
tion for his marriage to Jadwiga, queen of Poland. At this point, a 
power struggle began over the Borderlands and the southern Baltic 
coast, between Poland-Lithuania on the one hand and the Duchy of 
Moscow, later the Russian Empire, on the other. 

In 1569 the dynastic union was replaced by a federation, the Polish- 
Lithuanian Commonwealth. 1 (See the shaded areas in map 1.) The 
Commonwealth was victorious in the late sixteenth-century wars with 
Moscow over Livonia, today's northern Latvia and southern Estonia. 
In the early seventeenth century a Polish army temporarily occupied 
Moscow, which reinforced the hostile stereotypes established in earlier 
Polish-Russian contacts. A negative image of the Polish occupation of 
Moscow, and of Poles in general, became firmly lodged in the Russian 
collective memory thanks mainly to a literary work and an opera. The 
first was a historical novel written by Mikhail N. Zagoskin, Yuri 
Miloslavsky, Hi Russkoe v 1612 godu: Istoricheskii Roman [Yuri 
Miloslavsky, or The Russians in 1612: A Historical Novel], first pub- 
lished in 1820, which depicted the Poles as brutal and cruel to the 
Muscovites. This was so, but their behavior did not differ from sol- 
diers' behavior elsewhere at the time. The book was very popular; it 
went through eleven printings, with the last appearing in 199 1. The 
second was Mikhail Glinka's opera A Life for the Tsar (1836), later 
known as Ivan Susanin, which also gave a poor image of the Poles in 
1612, although it included attractive Polish dances. The memory of 
the Polish occupation of Moscow still lives in Russia today. On 24 De- 
cember 2004 the Russian Duma abolished the communist holiday eel- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

ebrating the Bolshevik Revolution of 19 17 on 7 November and re- 
placed it with the Day of Unity, celebrated on 4 November as "The 
Liberation of Moscow from the Polish Interventionists" in 161 2. 2 

In the mid-seventeenth century, the Polish-Lithuanian Common- 
wealth became involved in a series of disastrous wars with Russia and 
Sweden. Called the Deluge by Polish historians, the wars exhausted 
the Commonwealth and led to its decline. The Russian Empire ex- 
panded. Russia, Austria, and Prussia partitioned the Commonwealth 
in 1772. Poland reformed its government in 1791, but it was parti- 
tioned again in 1793. A revolt in 1794 led the Commonwealth to suf- 
fer a third partition in 1795, after which it disappeared from the map 
of Europe (see map 2). 3 After the Napoleonic Wars, the largest part of 
ethnic Poland became the Kingdom of Poland within the Russian Em- 
pire (1815-1830). From that time forward, most educated Russians 
came to consider the Borderlands and Russian Poland as rightfully 
part of Russia, whereas most educated Poles saw both as rightfully 
part of Poland and identified the loss of the Borderlands with the loss 
of Polish independence. At that time, the peasants who constituted 
most of the population in the old Commonwealth had no voice in de- 
ciding their own fate. 

Polish rights and freedoms, granted by Tsar Alexander I, were re- 
duced after his death, and a revolt erupted in November 1830, at the 
time of the European revolutions. In fact, the nineteenth century wit- 
nessed six Polish uprisings against the partitioning powers, those 
against Russia in 1830-1831 and 1863 -1864 being the longest and 
strongest. Both were crushed by Russian military might and were fol- 
lowed by severe repression, including the penal deportation to Siberia 
of thousands of Polish insurgents, as well as the resettlement there of 
hundreds of Polish gentry families deported from what are today Be- 
larus and Ukraine. A policy of intensive Russification was imple- 
mented in Russian Poland after 1864. 

For the next two decades, Polish intellectuals condemned uprisings 
as the way to regain independence and advocated a "positivist" ap- 
proach, that is, working for the education and economic development 
of the Polish people within the legal limits established by the ruling 
powers. 4 The Positivists, however, began to lose out to the new gener- 
ation, raised after the uprising of 1863 -1864, whose leaders renewed 
the struggle for independence in the early 1890s. When Russia was 
torn by revolution in 1905 -1907, the same was true of Russian 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


Poland, where many industrial workers joined the independence 
movement led by the Polska Partia Socjalistyczna [PPS — Polish Social- 
ist Party]. The Russian government made some concessions to Polish 
demands, but they were far from satisfying national aspirations. In 
19 14, Russian Poland still suffered under a system of repressive rule, 
as compared with Galicia (Austrian Poland), which enjoyed de facto 
self-government within the Austro -Hungarian Empire after 1868. 
Prussian Poland enjoyed stability and prosperity but suffered from 
harsh Germanization policies after 1880. Meanwhile, the negative 
Russian image of the Poles was reinforced by several authors in Rus- 
sian political writings, and in literature by the great Russian writer Fy- 
odor Dostoevsky. Conflicting Polish and Russian claims to the Border- 
lands further radicalized Russian perceptions of the Poles. 5 Indeed, 
Russian attacks on the Polish core would take a new, class form in So- 
viet policy toward independent Poland. 

The Rebirth of Poland, 19 18 -1920 

In the last years of the nineteenth century two leaders emerged who 
were to dominate the politics of interwar Poland, Jozef Pilsudski 
(1867-193 5) and Roman Dmowski (1864-1939). Pilsudski read 
books on socialism with a circle of friends in Wilno [Lithuanian, Vil- 
nius; Russian, Vilna] but was arrested in 1886 in connection with a 
failed attempt to assassinate Tsar Alexander III in which his elder 
brother Bronislaw, a student at the University of St. Petersburg, was 
implicated. The conspirators were betrayed before they could act. 
Jozef Pilsudski, though innocent, was arrested because of his brother's 
involvement and spent five years in Siberian exile (1887-1892). There 
he read more on socialism, which attracted him not as an ideology but 
because it opposed Russian imperial rule and stressed the need to im- 
prove the terrible conditions of industrial workers. Thus, writing in 
1903, he combined socialism and independence, stating: "A Socialist 
in Poland must aim at the country's independence, and independence 
is the defining condition of the victory of Socialism in Poland." 6 By 
this time, he was a prominent leader of the PPS, established in Paris in 
189Z and in Warsaw the following year. Its goal was an independent, 
socialist Poland. Pilsudski saw Russia as the foremost enemy of Polish 
independence. He exerted a dominant influence on the Polish Officer 
Corps, formed in 19 18 and active until 1945. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Roman Dmowski obtained a science degree from the Russian uni- 
versity in Warsaw in 1892. As a student, he was very active in the se- 
cret student organization Zwiazek Mlodziezy Polskiej [Zet — Union of 
Polish Youth], which strove to preserve Polish national identity and 
worked to teach peasants to be Polish patriots. He transformed the 
emigre Liga Polska [Polish League] into the Catholic, socially conser- 
vative Liga Narodowa [National League], which later became the eth- 
nocentric Narodowa Demokracja [National Democracy]. Like the So- 
cialists, the National Democrats also worked for Polish independence, 
but they opposed socialism; the two movements often clashed in Rus- 
sian Poland during the Revolution of 1905 -1907. 

The two future statesmen, one a Socialist, one a National Democrat, 
also differed fundamentally in their perceptions of Russia. Pilsudski al- 
ways saw Russia as Poland's foremost enemy, whereas Dmowski 
viewed Germany as such. He switched in 1906 from the immediate 
goal of gaining Polish independence to cooperation with the imperial 
Russian government within the new constitutional system established 
that year. His aim was to gain Polish self-government within the em- 
pire as the first step toward the union of all Polish territories and then 
independence. Thus, in the international line-up preceding the outbreak 
of World War I, the National Democrats planned to trade their support 
of Russia for the latter's agreement to the unification of Polish lands in 
an autonomous Poland under Russian sovereignty. The imperial gov- 
ernment and Russian public opinion, however, opposed this goal, seeing 
it as the first step toward dismantling the empire. In any case, Russian 
military defeats in the First World War led Dmowski to transfer his ac- 
tivities to the West, with headquarters in Paris. After the Russian Revo- 
lution of March 19 17, he and his Komitet Narodowy Polski [KNP — 
Polish National Committee] began to raise a Polish army in France with 
the blessing of the Russian Provisional Government (March-November 
19 17), which recognized Poland's right to independence, though in 
close alliance with Russia. After the Bolshevik revolution of 7 Novem- 
ber 19 1 7, the KNP worked openly for Polish independence. 7 

In the early part of World War I, Pifsudski raised and led the Polish 
Legions in the Austro-Hungarian Army, and his Legionnaires fought 
several battles with the Russians. In November 19 16 the German and 
Austro-Hungarian emperors promised to establish an independent 
Poland, and Berlin, aiming to raise a Polish army, allowed a Polish ad- 
ministration in German-occupied Poland. Pifsudski cooperated with it 
for a while but became increasingly doubtful that the Central Powers 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


(Germany and Austria-Hungary plus the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) 
would tolerate the existence of a truly independent Polish state. Further- 
more, the Russian Revolution of March 19 17 led him to conclude that 
there was no point in fighting any longer on the side of Berlin and Vi- 
enna. In summer 19 17 the Germans arrested Pilsudski for refusing to 
swear brotherhood in arms with the German and Austrian forces and 
imprisoned him in Germany. The new Social Democratic government in 
Berlin, however, believed that he was less anti-German than other Polish 
leaders, so they released him on 9 November 19 18 and arranged for his 
return to Warsaw. When Pilsudski arrived there the next day, he was 
welcomed as a national hero. He became head of state as well as com- 
mander in chief of the Polish armed forces, cleared Warsaw of its Ger- 
man garrison, and declared Polish independence on 1 1 November 19 1 8. 
It was not, however, until after the famous pianist Ignacy Jan Paderew- 
ski became prime minister and foreign minister of a new Polish govern- 
ment on i6January 19 19 that Poland gained official recognition abroad. 

Paderewski and Dmowski became Poland's chief representatives at 
the Paris Peace Conference (12 January-28 June 1919). In February, 
Dmowski and his supporters in the Polish delegation were joined by 
Pilsudski delegates. They all strove for a large Poland in the belief that 
a small Polish state could not survive, placed as it was between its tra- 
ditional enemies, Germany and Russia, but they differed over Poland's 
eastern boundaries. Pilsudski aimed at a federation with Lithuania and 
Belorussia and an alliance with an independent Ukraine (but East Gali- 
cia was to go to Poland), whereas Dmowski wanted Poland to include 
the western fringes of today's Belarus and all of today's western 
Ukraine (then East Galicia and Volhynia), where the Polish landown- 
ing gentry wielded significant economic and cultural influence. Po- 
land's eastern border, however, could not be settled at the Paris Peace 
Conference because of the ongoing Russian Civil War (1918-1922) 
and the Polish-Soviet War (1919-1920). In the west, the Polish-Ger- 
man border established by the Versailles Treaty was in overall accord 
with ethnically Polish territory, most of which was taken by the Poles 
from the Germans in the Wielkopolska [Great Poland] Uprising of 
19 1 8 -19 19. Paderewski and Dmowski signed the Versailles Treaty for 
Poland on 28 June 1919. 8 

Although the Russian Provisional Government of 19 17 recognized 
the Polish right to independence, as did the Bolshevik government, 
which abolished all treaties signed by tsarist Russia, mutual hostility 
continued between Poles and Russians. Indeed, the governments of So- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

viet Russia and Poland viewed each other as enemies. Pilsudski contin- 
ued to see Russia, White (anticommunist) or Red (communist), as the 
greatest threat to Polish independence. He wished to weaken Russia 
and strengthen Poland by establishing a Polish-Lithuanian-Belorus- 
sian federation allied with an independent Ukraine. 9 At the same time, 
the leader of the new Soviet state, Lenin (Vladimir I. Ulianov, 1870- 
1924), viewed Poland as a puppet of the Western Powers (Britain, 
France, and the United States) who supported the Whites in the Rus- 
sian Civil War, even though Pilsudski rejected British and French pleas 
to do so. In any case, Lenin and his close collaborators in the Bolshevik 
leadership aimed to set up Soviet republics in Russia's former western 
provinces as members of a Soviet federal state. They saw Poland as a 
bridge to Germany, the most highly industrialized European country, 
without whose help (as a communist state) the economically back- 
ward Soviet state could not survive. 

Local Polish-Soviet clashes in Lithuania and Belorussia in early 
19 19 became a full-scale war in late April 1920. At that time, Pilsudski 
moved to forestall a Soviet attack by concluding an alliance and mili- 
tary convention with the Ukrainian leader Semyon Petliura, after 
which Polish armies marched together with Petliura's Ukrainian di- 
visions into Soviet-ruled Ukraine. They reached Kiev in early May 
1920, and there Pilsudski and Petliura proclaimed an independent 
Ukraine. 10 They found little local support, however, and the Red 
Army forced them to retreat to the very gates of Warsaw. 

The Western Powers, fearing the establishment of a German com- 
munist state, wanted to prevent a Soviet incursion into Germany. On 
11 July 1920, after deliberations at an Allied conference in Spa, Bel- 
gium, on what to do about the Red Army's advance into Poland, the 
British government (but not the French) proposed to Moscow a Polish- 
Soviet armistice line, known as the Curzon Line, named after the 
British foreign secretary of the time, Lord George Nathaniel Curzon. 
The details are important because during World War II Stalin de- 
manded that it serve as the basis for the postwar Soviet-Polish frontier, 
although he extended Ukrainian territory a little west of it. 

The Curzon Line was based on a provisional demarcation line be- 
tween Polish and Russian administrations proposed during the Paris 
Peace Conference of 1919. Most of this line was not new, for it ap- 
proximated the eastern border of Congress Poland (1815-1830), well 
known to Western statesmen of 19 19 from their school atlases, which 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

designated the lands east of Poland as Russian, though they were in- 
habited by Ukrainians, Poles, Belorussians, and Jews. It also happened 
to coincide with the eastern limits of predominantly ethnic Polish ter- 
ritory. The southern segment of the Curzon Line, however, was to fol- 
low one of the two lines proposed at the Paris Peace Conference of 
19 19 for a possible division of East Galicia (today part of western 
Ukraine) : variant A of the two lines proposed in June 19 19 left most of 
East Galicia, including Lwow [Russian, Lvov; Ukrainian, Lviv] and 
the oil fields, outside Poland, while variant B left them in Poland. East 
Galicia had been part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and 
then of the Habsburg Empire, later the Austro-Hungarian Empire, 
whose lands outside of Austria proper were put at the disposal of the 
powers victorious in World War I. 

In 19 1 8 the population was about 60 percent Ukrainian, 30 percent 
Polish, and 10 percent Jewish, but the cities and some other areas had 
Polish majorities with significant Jewish minorities, and the small 
towns were Jewish. East Galicia was claimed and fought over in 19 1 8 - 
19 19 by Poles and Ukrainians, who wanted it as part of a large Ukrai- 
nian state. The war ended with a Polish victory, which left long-lasting 
and bitter memories on both sides. East Galicia, gaining which had 
been an imperial Russian war aim, was also claimed as Russian by 
emigre Russian statesmen in Paris and by the Soviet government. The 
British government, though officially supporting Ukrainian self deter- 
mination, wanted to keep East Galicia out of Polish hands to preserve 
it as a bargaining counter with Soviet Russia, so it proposed autonomy 
or a League of Nations mandate with a high commissioner. (This was 
similar to the arrangement the British managed to obtain for Danzig 
[Gdansk], which was made a Free City.) At the end of 1919, the Su- 
preme Council of the League of Nations agreed on East Galician au- 
tonomy with a twenty-five-year mandate for Poland, but it was "sus- 
pended" on the plea of the French government. Indeed, the French 
were interested in the East Galician oilfields and saw Poland as a bar- 
rier to Bolshevism, so they supported the Polish claim to East Galicia. 
(The Poles had been allowed to take over the region in order to stem 
the Bolshevik tide advancing from the east.) 

On 10 July 192.0, when the Red Army neared Warsaw during the 
Polish-Soviet War, the Polish government delegation at Spa, Belgium, 
accepted an armistice with the Soviets along the current Polish-Soviet 
front line, which left Lwow and the neighboring oil fields on the Polish 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

side. The line was changed, however, in the Foreign Office, London, to 
line A of 19 19, leaving both on the Soviet side, presumably to make the 
offer more acceptable to the Soviets. France and Britain declared they 
would come to Poland's aid if the Red Army entered ethnically Polish 
territory, that is, land west of the Curzon Line, even though Paris had 
not supported line A. The Soviet government, however, rejected the 
Curzon Line (line A), proposing direct Polish-Soviet negotiations in- 
stead, in which they put forward demands incompatible with Polish 
independence. As Lenin admitted at a party conference in September 
1920 — after the Polish victory over the Red Army — the Soviet leader- 
ship rejected the Curzon proposal because they believed the Western 
Powers would not fight. Therefore, they decided to carry the revolu- 
tion not only into ethnic Poland but also further west to Germany and 
perhaps to Italy as well. Lenin also said they believed that Poland's de- 
feat would mean the collapse of the Versailles Treaty, the foundation of 
the whole international system. 11 As Soviet-Polish negotiations began, 
the Red Army continued its advance into ethnically Polish lands, but 
much to everyone's surprise, Piisudski led the Poles to victory in the 
Battle of the Vistula (August 1920). 12 It is worth noting that many of 
the Polish officers taken prisoner by the Red Army in September 1939 
had fought against it in 1920. Indeed, the war was very much a part of 
popular memory in both Poland and the USSR in 1939, though pre- 
sented in very different images by each country's media. 

The Polish victory secured the independence of not only Poland but 
also the Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) and perhaps 
other Central European states as well. Peace came with the Treaty of 
Riga (18 March 1921), which left what is today western Belarus and 
western Ukraine in Poland. The British government opposed these Pol- 
ish gains, but the Western Powers grudgingly recognized Poland's sov- 
ereignty in March 1923, conditional on the grant of autonomy to East 
Galicia (not implemented) and no assumption of Western responsibil- 
ity for the settlement. As for the Russians, most viewed these territorial 
losses as an outrage because the lands had belonged to Russia from the 
time of the partitions of Poland to World War I. They also looked on 
the Ukrainians and Belorussians as their junior Slavic brothers. Last 
but not least, they viewed the losses as a grave diminution of Soviet se- 
curity. That is why the defeat of 1920 rankled so deeply with the Soviet 
leadership, especially Joseph Stalin, who was attached as a commissar 
to Semyon Budenny's cavalry marching on Polish Lwow in summer 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


1920. Indeed, the brilliant Bolshevik commander Mikhail Tukhachev- 
sky blamed Stalin for the Red Army's disaster, ostensibly because Sta- 
lin did not press Budenny to follow orders and move north in time to 
prevent it. More than likely, however, Budenny would have arrived too 
late to prevent Soviet defeat. Indeed, Polish military cryptographers 
had broken Red Army radio codes so that Pilsudski knew the location 
of Soviet units in August 1920. Furthermore, Polish military radio- 
telegraphers sometimes blocked Tukhachevsky's orders to his troops 
by reading Bible excerpts on the same wavelength as that used by the 
Soviet commander. 13 

The Red Army's defeat by the Poles in 1920 made Soviet leaders 
view Poland throughout the interwar period as the most immediate 
threat to the USSR. For the Poles, victory over the Soviets ensured in- 
dependence, although it also created overconfidence in the Polish 
Army, especially the cavalry, which had performed brilliantly in what 
is now viewed as the last cavalry war in Europe. 14 The Poles saw the 
Polish-Soviet frontier established by the Treaty of Riga (18 March 
192 1 ) as the recovery of old Polish lands, especially the two prepon- 
derantly Polish-speaking cities that were then centers of Polish culture, 
Wilno and Lwow. At the same time, they saw the eastern territories as 
critical to Polish national security against the Soviet Union, viewed as 
a "Red" version of the old Russian Empire. Thus, in a mirror image of 
the Soviet view of Poland, for most of the interwar period the Poles 
saw the USSR as the greatest threat to their country. The Polish Officer 
Corps, like the majority of Poles, believed that no territorial conces- 
sions could be made to either Germany or the USSR without compro- 
mising Poland's independence. 

Soviet-Polish Relations, 1921-1939 

After the Treaty of Riga, Soviet-Polish relations were cool until the 
early 1930s. Indeed, in 1924-1934 the "Poland-Romania" series of 
Soviet military plans envisaged war between the USSR on the one hand 
and a coalition of Central European states led by Poland and Romania 
and backed by the Western Powers on the other. This was the Soviet re- 
action to the Polish-Romanian defensive alliance and secret military 
convention signed in 1921. 15 In the same period, German-Soviet rela- 
tions were very good, including not only trade but also secret military 
cooperation, which was a direct threat to Poland. 16 Both Germany 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

and the USSR refused to accept their territorial losses to Poland. Al- 
though Germany signed the Versailles Treaty, no German government 
officially recognized the Polish-German frontier, and Soviet propa- 
ganda attacked Poland. Still, Moscow and Warsaw moved closer in 
19 3 1- 193 2, when the Great Depression apparently made Stalin fear a 
possible German attack on the USSR, supported by France and 
Britain, through a vanquished Poland. Therefore, a Soviet-Polish Non- 
Aggression Pact was signed in Moscow on 25 July 193 2. 17 Indeed, 
Poland also feared Germany. After Adolf Hitler came to power in 
1933 and continued to rant against the Versailles Treaty, Pikudski 
feared Western support for a possible revision of the Polish-German 
frontier at Poland's expense. Hitler, for his part, decided to improve re- 
lations with Poland, and a Polish-German Declaration of Non- Aggres- 
sion was signed on 26 January 1934. 18 

Despite the extension of the Polish-Soviet pact for ten years on 5 
May 1934, the Soviet leadership suspected a secret Polish alignment 
with Nazi Germany against the USSR, a view fueled by reports of the 
Razvedka [GRU — Main Military Intelligence Administration of the 
RKKA/Red Army] and still widely held in Russia today. In light of 
these Soviet assumptions, it is not surprising that the "Poland-Ger- 
many" series of Soviet war plans drawn up in 193 5-1939 envisaged 
an attack on the USSR by a Polish-German coalition, which was the 
worst-case scenario for Soviet military planners. Soviet distrust of 
Poles also led to the arrest of some 140,000 ethnically Polish Soviet cit- 
izens during the Stalin Terror of 193 5-1938. Charged with spying for 
Poland, many were shot or died in labor camps. 19 

The Polish government, however, held to the French alliance and 
had no intention of joining Nazi Germany in an attack on the Soviet 
Union, for this would have meant German armies entering Poland. 20 
Both Pilsudski and Foreign Minister Jozef Beck refused to discuss Ger- 
man proposals for a joint attack on the USSR and Polish expansion 
into Soviet Ukraine. They aimed at maintaining a balance between 
Germany and the USSR — that is, good relations with both but alliance 
with neither. 21 Clearly, however, the Soviet leadership believed that if 
Poland had to choose between her two great neighbors, the choice 
would be Nazi Germany. Therefore, the extension of the Soviet-Polish 
Non- Aggression Pact in 1934 did nothing to assuage Soviet suspi- 
cions. Indeed, they were strengthened by the Polish rejection of the 
"Eastern Locarno" treaty proposed by France the same year, whereby 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


the USSR would be responsible for the security of France's Eastern Eu- 
ropean allies. 22 

Four years later, during the Czechoslovak crisis of 1938, Soviet 
diplomacy supported Prague, while the Polish foreign minister waited 
to see if the Western Powers would fight for Czechoslovakia. Beck's 
policy was aptly described in a June 1938 report by the U.S. ambas- 
sador in Warsaw, Anthony J. Drexel Biddle. On the basis of his talks 
with Beck and high-ranking Polish officials, Biddle reported that if the 
Western Powers fought, Poland would be on their side, for it would 
never align with Germany; but if they did not fight, Poland would look 
after its own interests. Finally, whatever happened, Poland would 
never go into Soviet Ukraine. Biddle's report confirms Beck's account 
of his statement on Polish foreign policy to the Polish Council of Min- 
isters in summer 1938, as well as statements by other Poles recorded 
by British officials later that year. 23 Contrary to the widely accepted 
view that the Polish government rejected Soviet proposals for the pas- 
sage of Red Army troops through Polish territory to help Czechoslo- 
vakia in September 1938, no official Soviet proposal to this end has 
been found in either Polish or Russian archives. Furthermore, no So- 
viet military plan to carry out such an action has come to light, so the 
Red Army mobilization on the western frontier may have been a 
demonstration of support for Czechoslovakia rather than a prelude to 
military action. 24 

Through the ups and downs of interwar Polish-Soviet relations, So- 
viet resentment of the Polish-Soviet border established by the Treaty of 
Riga was a constant, though muted issue. The political line followed 
by Soviet historians, as well as Polish historians in communist Poland 
(1945-1989), was that Polish cession of western Ukraine and western 
Belorussia to the USSR would have led to a Soviet-Polish alliance safe- 
guarding Polish independence in 1939, and such an alliance would 
have been the right policy for Poland to follow in World War II. Both 
the prewar Polish government and the wartime government-in-exile 
were condemned for being unrealistic in rejecting this option. Similar 
views are held by many Western historians today. 25 All interwar (and 
later wartime) Polish governments, however, as well as the vast major- 
ity of Poles, adamantly rejected such a policy. In any case, even if a Pol- 
ish government could have ceded the eastern territories to the Soviet 
Union in 1939 and remained in power, it seems most unlikely that 
Stalin would have risked war with Hitler over Poland. Distrust of 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

France and Britain and the aim of keeping the USSR out of a European 
war were the dominant features of Soviet foreign policy at the time. As 
for the Poles, they expected the principal attack on their country to 
come from the USSR. This was due not only to distrust of Moscow 
but also to the nature of the Franco-Polish Alliance (19 February 
1921). The secret military convention attached to the alliance stipu- 
lated active French military support in a Polish-German war but not 
in a Polish-Soviet war, when only French military supplies were envis- 
aged. 26 Until the turn of 193 8 -1939, Polish war plans mandated de- 
fensive action by the bulk of the country's armed forces in the east, but 
this was read in Moscow to mean aggressive Polish designs on Soviet 

The German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact 
and the German-Polish War, 1939 

The German-Soviet Non- Aggression Pact was signed in Stalin's pres- 
ence at the Kremlin on 23 August 1939 by the German Foreign Minis- 
ter Joachim von Ribbentrop and the Soviet Commissar for Foreign Af- 
fairs Vyacheslav Molotov (doc. 1). Historians still disagree about the 
timing of Stalin's policy decision and his motives. Did he really aim at 
an alliance with France and Britain and decide in Hitler's favor only 
when they failed to secure Polish and Romanian agreement to the pas- 
sage of Soviet troops in case of war with Germany, or was he aiming at 
an agreement with Hitler all along? Available documentation seems to 
indicate that both pragmatism and ideology led Stalin in the second di- 
rection. On the one hand, why should he risk a war with Germany in 
which the Western Powers might not help the USSR, whereas a Ger- 
man war with France and Britain would exhaust both sides, thus 
strengthening communist movements and eventually bringing Soviet 
domination over a devastated Europe? On the other hand, a Soviet al- 
liance with the Western Powers could prevent a war between them and 
Germany, which might lead to a Western-supported German attack on 
the USSR. Thus, Stalin could see an agreement with Berlin as being in 
the Soviet interest, while the expected Polish refusal to allow the pas- 
sage of Soviet troops in case of war with Germany could serve as its 
justification. The secret German-Soviet talks on trade and spheres of 
interest in Eastern Europe, held in Berlin in the summer of 1939, can 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


be viewed as preparing the way for the German-Soviet Non- Aggression 
Pact of 23 August 19 39. 27 

The core of the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact was the Secret 
Supplementary Protocol, negotiated in the Kremlin during the night of 
23-24 August, when Ribbentrop consulted Hitler on some of Stalin's 
territorial demands by telephone via the German Embassy in Moscow. 
The protocol specified Soviet and German spheres of influence in the 
Baltic States and drew a line dividing Poland in half between the two 
powers. This line followed the Vistula and San Rivers (the Pisa River 
was added in a supplementary agreement signed on 28 August). Because 
the Vistula runs through Warsaw, the eastern part of the Polish capital 
was left on the Soviet side (see map 3). Germany also recognized pre- 
dominant Soviet interest in Bessarabia (now Moldova), then part of Ro- 
mania but previously part of the Russian Empire (doc. 2). The contents 
of the Secret Protocol were leaked to Washington, Paris, and London, 
but the Poles were informed neither by their French and British allies nor 
by the United States. 28 It is true, however, that rumors of a German-So- 
viet agreement had circulated since the spring of 1939. In particular, 
Walter Krivitsky, a high-ranking Soviet intelligence agent who had de- 
fected to the West in 1937, warned the British Foreign Office repeatedly 
two years later that Stalin would conclude a pact with Hitler, but his 
warnings were treated as "twaddle" and "rigamarole." 29 The Secret 
Protocol was condemned fifty years later by a freely elected Supreme So- 
viet on 25 December 1989. But the point of view prevalent in Russian 
official circles today is that the German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact 
was in many respects similar to the Munich agreement of 193 8. 30 

Once Hitler had secured the pact with Moscow, he made it clear that 
peace depended on full Polish acceptance of his demands: the return of 
the Free City of Danzig to Germany and a German corridor through 
the Polish Corridor (Polish Pomerania), thus giving Germany direct 
land access to Danzig and East Prussia. Danzig, Poland's second sea- 
port after Gdynia, was predominantly German, but the Polish Corri- 
dor, where Gdynia was located, was predominantly Polish even ac- 
cording to the Prussian census of 1910. These demands, already 
rejected by Poland in late March 1939, were unacceptable to both the 
Polish government and the Polish people because they were seen as 
making Poland economically and, thus, politically a satellite of Ger- 
many. Jozef Lipski, the Polish ambassador in Berlin, saw German For- 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

eign Minister Ribbentrop on 31 August 1939 and told him that the 
Polish government was considering British suggestions for a Polish- 
German agreement (actually these were German terms communicated 
by the British to the Poles). When it became clear that Lipski did not 
have the authority to accept the German demands, Ribbentrop ended 
the interview. The sixteen "proposals" broadcast by German state ra- 
dio on the evening of 31 August 1939 were formulated to appeal to 
Western public opinion. Aside from the immediate return of Danzig to 
Germany, there was to be an internationally supervised plebiscite in 
the Polish Corridor (with the vote limited to people living there before 
19 1 8 ); free transit for the side that lost; and a commission of inquiry to 
investigate minority problems. The terms were made public by Ger- 
man state radio at 9 p.m. on 31 August, along with the claim that 
Poland had rejected them. This was the signal for the German attack 
on Poland, which began in the early hours of 1 September 1939. 

Five German armies (1,500,000 men) invaded Poland from the 
west, north, and south. As they battered the Poles on land and sea and 
from the air, the French and British governments showed interest in 
Italian dictator Benito Mussolini's proposal for a Great Power confer- 
ence. On 1 September they demanded the withdrawal of German 
forces from Polish territory but also stated that if Germany complied, 
they would be ready to support German-Polish negotiations. (They 
hoped that Poland would agree to Hitler's terms in return for interna- 
tional guarantees of its new frontiers and independence.) 31 The Fiihrer 
sent no answer by the deadline, so France and Britain found them- 
selves at war with Germany on 3 September 1939. 

The Polish Army was no match for the German war machine, then 
the most modern and powerful in the world. Their only hope was a 
French offensive against Germany, due fifteen days after a German at- 
tack on Poland (to allow for French mobilization), as specified in the 
Franco-Polish protocol to the Military Convention of 192 1, signed in 
Paris on 19 May 1939. The French offensive, however, did not take 
place. This was not because the Poles had collapsed after fifteen 
days — fighting was still going on — but because the British and French 
General Staffs had agreed beforehand to fight a defensive war if Ger- 
many attacked Poland. They did not inform their ally: the French mil- 
itary wanted the Poles to fight as long as possible in order to gain time 
for France. 32 Thus, there was a "phony war" in the west as German 
armies advanced quickly into central Poland. The largest and longest 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


battle took place on the Bzura River in central Poland, 7-16 Septem- 
ber, while General Kazimierz Sosnkowski defeated a German division 
in southeastern Poland, and Warsaw withstood a three-week German 
siege from land and air. By 27 September the city was running out of 
food and water and surrendered on the orders of the former Polish 
commander in chief, Marshal Edward Smigly-Rydz. The last Polish 
unit fighting the Germans disbanded on 6 October. 33 The outmatched 
Poles had fought the Germans for five weeks, or almost as long as the 
French, supported by the British, fought them in France in 1940. 
Whatever chance the Polish forces retained to regroup in the south- 
eastern part of the country was lost when the Red Army invaded east- 
ern Poland on 17 September. 

The Soviet Invasion of Poland, 17 September 1939 

As the Germans advanced into Polish territory, they pressed the Soviet 
government to enter their part of Poland but Stalin took his time, per- 
haps owing to war in the Far East. Fighting had been going on since 
May 1939 between the Red Army and part of the Japanese Kwantung 
Army near the frontier between Manchukuo (Japanese-controlled 
Manchuria) and Soviet Mongolia. Richard Sorge, the Soviet spy in 
Tokyo with access to high-level Japanese officials, had reported in June 
that Japan would not be ready for war before 194 1, and the Japanese 
High Command was trying to rein in the Kwantung Army, which had 
acted against the express wishes of the Japanese government, but this 
was probably not enough to convince Stalin. In any case, Komandarm 
[General] (later Marshal) Georgy K. Zhukov launched an offensive 
against the Japanese on 20 August. He drove them back by 22 August, 
defeating them by the end of the month, and a Soviet-Japanese 
armistice was signed on 15 September. 34 Perhaps the Far Eastern war 
delayed the Red Army's incursion into eastern Poland, but Stalin also 
may have waited to see whether the French would launch an offensive 
against Germany. Whatever was uppermost in his mind, mobilization 
in the Belorussian and Ukrainian military regions bordering Poland 
began on 7 September. Attack orders were signed on 9 September, but 
the date was changed to 14 September, and two days later, action was 
set for the dawn of 17 September. 35 

When Stalin decided the time had come for the Red Army to invade 
eastern Poland, he wanted to issue a declaration that the USSR was 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

coming to save the Ukrainians and Belorussians from the Germans. 
On 17 September at 2 a.m. he and Molotov met with the German am- 
bassador in Moscow, Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg. Molotov 
and Stalin told Schulenburg that the Red Army would enter Poland at 
6 a.m. The three agreed on the text of the Soviet note to be handed to 
the Polish ambassador; Stalin also accepted Schulenburg's objections 
to his proposed public declaration and agreed to alter the text to make 
it acceptable to the Germans. 36 The Soviet note stated that Warsaw 
was no longer the Polish capital and that the government showed no 
sign of life. Since the Polish state and government no longer existed, 
Polish-Soviet agreements had "ceased to operate," and this situation 
could be a threat to the USSR. Furthermore, the Soviet government 
could not leave its Ukrainian and Belorussian kin unprotected, so the 
Red Army would come in to protect them. Finally, the Soviet govern- 
ment would give the Polish people "the opportunity to live a peaceful 
life" (doc. 4). The wording was designed to justify Soviet aggression 
against Poland in the eyes of communists as well as influence general 
public opinion at home and abroad. Indeed, many Western commu- 
nists expressed support for Poland when it was attacked by Germany, 
and were appalled by the Soviet attack that began on 1 7 September. 
Critical remarks by citizens were also reported in the USSR. 37 

The Stalin-Molotov conversation with Ambassador Schulenburg 
took place at almost the same time as another diplomatic encounter. 
The Polish ambassador in Moscow, Waclaw Grzybowski, was sum- 
moned by Soviet Deputy Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vladimir 
Potemkin to his office in the early hours of 17 September. There 
Potemkin read him the Soviet note. Grzybowski rejected the references 
to Warsaw and the Polish government. He stated that Polish armies 
were still fighting and refused to accept the note, but he finally con- 
sented to communicate its contents to his government. Copies of the 
Soviet note were sent to all foreign embassies and legations in Mos- 
cow, informing them that the USSR would conduct a policy of neutral- 
ity in its relations with each country. Molotov read the contents of the 
note on Soviet radio that day as well. Furthermore, a Soviet-German 
communique was issued on 1 8 September stating that Germany and 
the USSR would restore order and peace in Poland, a peace disturbed 
by the (alleged) collapse of the Polish government. They would also 
help the Poles reorganize their economic life. 38 

Meanwhile, the Polish government, the commander in chief, and the 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


General Staff had left Warsaw on 6 September to escape the impending 
German encirclement of the city. They retreated east, then southeast to 
the border with Romania. On 17 September the government and 
diplomatic corps were stationed at Kuty, on the Cheremosh [Czere- 
mosz] River, which separated the Romanian province of Bukovina 
from Poland, with the General Staff stationed at nearby Kolomija 
[Kotomyja]. The Polish authorities received the news of the Soviet en- 
try into eastern Poland at 6 a.m. that day and were at first uncertain as 
to whether the Russians were coming to aid the Poles or attack them. 
When the contents of the Soviet note to Grzybowski arrived at Kuty 
(via the Polish Embassy in Bucharest) soon thereafter, it dispelled any 
lingering illusions. The Polish government issued a strong protest 
against the Soviet invasion, which violated the Polish-Soviet Non- 
Aggression Pact, as well as against Soviet allegations regarding itself 
and the Polish Army. 39 With the Red Army advancing swiftly toward 
their location, the Polish authorities decided to cross into Romania 
with the aim of proceeding thence to France, where they were assured 
of hospitality and intended to raise a new Polish army to fight the Ger- 
mans. The Romanian government, however, acting under strong Ger- 
man pressure, interned the top Polish civil and military authorities, al- 
though it soon allowed General Wladyslaw Sikorski, some officials, 
and thousands of Polish military to leave for France (via Yugoslavia 
and Italy). 40 Hungary also released many Polish soldiers. A new Polish 
government was formed in Paris on 30 September with Sikorski as pre- 
mier and, soon thereafter, also commander in chief of the Polish armed 

The USSR did not declare war on Poland, and neither the old nor the 
new Polish government declared war on the USSR. (The new Polish 
government however, considered itself to be at war with the Soviet 
Union.) Indeed, before crossing into Romania on the night of 17-18 
September, Marshal Smigry-Rydz issued an order to Polish troops not 
to fight the Soviets unless the latter attacked or tried to disarm them. 
He ordered Warsaw and the nearby fortress of Modlin to defend them- 
selves against the Germans, but also ordered towns approached by the 
Soviets to negotiate with them to secure their garrisons' exit to Roma- 
nia or Hungary (doc. 6). (His order for Warsaw to surrender came ten 
days later.) Some 35,000 Polish military made their way from Roma- 
nia and Hungary to France, but many others were prevented from 
crossing into Romania and Hungary by Soviet troops. The War Coun- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

cil of the Ukrainian Front issued orders on 19 September to close a seg- 
ment of the Polish frontier running along the Zbruch [Zbrucz] River 
and west of it to prevent Polish soldiers and officers from crossing into 
Romania. 41 Among those taken prisoner while attempting to reach 
Hungary was General Wladyslaw Anders, who was released only after 
the German attack on the USSR on 22 June 194 1. There was no secret 
about the plan to raise a Polish army in France, so it is very likely that 
the Soviet government knew of it even before the new Polish govern- 
ment was established there. In November 1939, Commissar Lev 
Mekhlis, head of the Red Army's Political Administration, told a 
group of Soviet writers that captive Polish officers should not be re- 
leased because they would provide leadership for Polish "legions" being 
formed in the west. He said the Poles could raise an army of 100,000 
in France. 42 

The Soviet forces entering Poland in September 1939 numbered 
around 500,000, although by the end of the campaign the number 
stood at about 1,500,000. Most of the regular Polish troops normally 
stationed in eastern Poland were sent west to fight the Germans, so 
most of the resistance was offered by several thousand soldiers of the 
Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza [KOP — Polish Frontier Protection Corps], 
supplemented by a few army groups from central Poland formed with 
units retreating ahead of the Germans. Soviet armed superiority was 
overwhelming. The armies of the Ukrainian and Belorussian Fronts, 
commanded by Komandarm Semyon Timoshenko and Komandarm 
Vasily Kuznetsov, included elite armored and air force units whose 
task was less to crush Polish resistance than to prevent a possible mas- 
sive German incursion into the agreed-on Soviet share of Poland. In- 
deed, before the Red Army moved in, some German troops drove east 
of the demarcation line and even besieged Lwow, which was in the 
Soviet zone. The Polish commander, General Wladyslaw Langner, a 
Pilsudski Legionnaire in World War I and veteran of the Polish-Soviet 
War, decided to surrender to the Soviets rather than the Germans, who 
retreated as the Red Army drew near the city. In the surrender agree- 
ment, even though Timoshenko's representatives agreed that the Pol- 
ish military should go free, they were arrested and imprisoned in Staro- 
belsk, near Kharkov [Ukrainian, Kharkiv], Ukraine. Once there, the 
officers protested that their captivity violated the surrender terms 
(docs. 20, 21). 

Meanwhile, although some Polish units fought the Red Army, espe- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


cially in defense of Grodno (now in Belarus), many surrendered with- 
out a fight. Some did so in the belief that the Soviets were coming to 
fight the Germans; others, who received the 17 September order of 
Marshal Smigfy-Rydz (doc. 6), interpreted it to mean surrender. Some 
Polish officers were stopped and shot on the spot by officers of the 
Narodny Komissariat Vnutreknnykh Del [NKVD or Narkomvnu- 
del — People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs]. This was the case 
with General Jozef Olszyna-Wilczyriski, prewar commander of the 3rd 
Military District, with headquarters in Grodno, and commander of 
the Grodno Operational Group in September 1939. Ironically, he had 
opposed fighting the Soviets, had ordered his units to retreat to 
Lithuania, and was on his way there when he was shot. Despite his or- 
ders, the Poles of Grodno crushed an internal attempt to take over the 
town and defended it for three days; some 300 Polish defenders were 
shot after the Soviets took the town. The Wilno Poles also put up a 
brief fight before being overwhelmed by Soviet troops. 43 

At this time, many Polish officers and noncommissioned officers 
(NCOs), police, and civilians were shot in several localities without 
any semblance of a trial. In 2002 the remains of eighteen high-ranking 
KOP officers were found in a mass grave in Melnyky, near Shatsk, 
Ukraine. It is true that Red Army Military Councils in western Ukraine 
and western Belorussia were empowered to ratify death sentences for 
" kontrrevoliutsionny" [c-r — counterrevolutionary] crimes committed 
by civilians and former Polish Army personnel (doc. 15), but no trial 
record for the Melnyky victims has surfaced thus far. In fact, it is not 
known how many Poles were killed in eastern Poland in September 
1939; one estimate cites 1,000-2,500 civilians and 200-300 mili- 
tary. 44 Most of the civilians were not victims of the Red Army or the 
NKVD but of roving Belorussian and Ukrainian bands that attacked 
both ethnic Poles and Jews. 

Soviet Policy in Eastern Poland, 1939-1941 

The ideological justification for the Soviet attack on Poland was pro- 
claimed in the Order to the Troops issued by the Military Council of 
the Belorussian Front. The order stated that the Red Army was coming 
to the aid of "brother Belorussians and Ukrainians" to rescue them 
from "the threat of ruin and massacre by their enemies" (doc. 3). In- 
deed, the majority of the population in these regions was made up of 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Belorussians and Ukrainians. In 1939, out of a total eastern popula- 
tion of some 13,199,000, there were, according to Polish estimates, 
5,274,000 ethnic Poles; 4,529,000 Ukrainians; 1,945,000 Belorus- 
sians; 1,109,000 Jews; and 342,000 others. 45 Poles formed majorities 
in the larger cities, especially Lwow and Wilno, which also had signif- 
icant Jewish populations, while Jews predominated in the small mar- 
ket towns (shtetls). 

Polish rule over national minorities was generally heavy-handed, al- 
though implementation depended largely on the provincial governors. 
Various degrees of discrimination and repression were applied, partic- 
ularly in southeastern Poland, where the extreme nationalist Orha- 
nizatsiia Ukrainskykh Natsionalistiv [OUN — Organization of Ukrai- 
nian Nationalists] and its military arm, the Ukrainskaia Voennaia 
Organizatsiia [UVO — Ukrainian Military Organization], carried out 
terrorist acts against Polish officials, including assassinations. A series 
of UVO attacks against Poles and Polish property in the fall of 1930 
led to Polish troops being quartered in the troubled areas and to wide- 
spread destruction of Ukrainian property. At the same time, however, 
minorities had extensive cultural and press freedom, as demonstrated 
by the large number of Ukrainian, Belorussian, and Jewish newspa- 
pers, periodicals, and publications. 46 

In general, minority populations in most Eastern European states — 
except for Jews — had ties with neighboring countries where they 
formed majorities, so they were viewed with suspicion and subjected 
to assimilation policies. This perception accounted for most of the re- 
pression suffered by minorities in each country during the interwar pe- 
riod, including democratic Czechoslovakia, where the Poles of Zaolzie 
(a territory just west of the Olza River) were subjected to various as- 
similation policies. The generally hard lot of most of Poland's Ukraini- 
ans, Belorussians, and Jews was still much better than that of their eth- 
nic kin across the eastern border. Stalin's forced collectivization of 
agriculture in the early 1930s cost millions of lives, mostly Ukrainian. 
Soviet Jews enjoyed limited civil rights, but were not free to practice 
their religion and lost their communal institutions. 47 

In September 1939 many Belorussians, Ukrainians, and Jews wel- 
comed the Red Army when it invaded eastern Poland, though not for 
the same reasons. The western Ukrainians, most of whom lived in East 
Galicia and belonged to the Uniate, or Ukrainian Church, wanted their 
own state, which would include Volhynia, where most Ukrainians be- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


longed to the Polish Autonomous Orthodox Church. The western Be- 
lorussian peasants, many of whom belonged to the Catholic Church, 
did not have a strong sense of national identity but wanted the Polish 
gentry's land, as did the Ukrainian peasants. The vast majority of the 
Jewish population professed the Jewish Orthodox faith, while many 
young Jews were either Zionists or communists, and all were greatly 
relieved to escape German occupation. 48 The end of Polish rule was 
welcomed by many Belorussians, Ukrainians, and Jews, but Soviet rule 
hardly amounted to political or economic liberation. The Ukrainians 
were soon disabused of their hopes for independence, as were edu- 
cated Belorussians, and the Jews suffered the confiscation of their 
property as well as the dissolution of their communal organizations. 

Contrary to widespread Polish opinion at the time and later, only 
some of the Jews, mostly young people, actively collaborated with the 
new communist authorities. Many of them worked in the militia and 
helped to track down and arrest Poles targeted by Soviet authorities. 
Although these collaborators were not numerous, they were visible, 
unlike Polish agents and informers, so Polish resentment came to in- 
clude all Jews, thus radicalizing traditional anti-Semitism. 49 As for the 
peasants, their dissatisfaction became evident in early 1940. The pop- 
ular land reform carried out through the confiscation and distribution 
of Polish estates was soon followed by the imposition of product deliv- 
ery quotas, confiscation of kulak property (kulaks were peasants own- 
ing at least a horse and a cow), and forced collectivization, imposed in 
April 1940. For all these reasons, even the generally passive Belorus- 
sian peasants offered resistance to Soviet rule, and some even recalled 
former Polish rule with nostalgia. 50 

The Soviets arrested Polish, Belorussian, Ukrainian, and Jewish po- 
litical leaders, as well as specific categories of people of all nationalities 
viewed as anti-Soviet. Some were shot on the spot, but most were im- 
prisoned or deported. 51 Soviet authorities viewed Polish Army offi- 
cers, police, administrators, officeholders, judges and other legal per- 
sonnel, politicians, educators, and clergy as counterrevolutionary; by 
virtue of their professions, they were automatically classified as oppo- 
nents of communism. These people were sought out on the basis of 
NKVD lists or denunciations. A property owner was viewed as a class 
enemy and classified as a sotsialno opasny element [SOE — socially 
dangerous element]. Poles were the owners of medium to large estates 
as well as some manufacturing firms, so many were arrested and jailed. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

The Polish landowning class — already decimated during the Russian 
Revolutions of 19 17 and the Civil War of 191 8-1922 — was wiped 
out. The families of officers and "counterrevolutionary" elements 
made up most of the deportees from eastern Poland to labor camps 
and "special settlements" in Soviet Central Asia and Siberia. Jews made 
up about one-third of all deported Polish citizens. 52 Thousands of 
Ukrainians, mostly politicians and clergy, as well as some Belorus- 
sians, shared the same fate. Soviet citizens knew little or nothing of the 
complex ethnic, political, economic, and social structure of eastern 
Poland. It is not surprising, then, that the image of Ukrainians and Be- 
lorussians persecuted by Polish "lords" was widespread in the USSR 
and that the notion of "liberation" from the "Polish yoke" was popu- 
lar. This stereotypical view was strengthened by the vilification of 
Poles in a propaganda campaign of articles and poems justifying the 
Soviet attack on Poland. 53 

The Secret Protocol to the German-Soviet Non- Aggression Pact of 
23 August 1939 left open the possibility of a rump Polish state, and 
Stalin may have considered it. This is suggested by an internal political 
directive of 1 6 September, issued by the War Council of the Belorus- 
sian Front, stating that a soviet, or assembly, elected in a preponder- 
antly Polish district could vote for the district to join the USSR as a So- 
viet republic. 54 Another indication is recorded by General Anders, 
who had been a cavalry staff officer in the Russian Army in 19 14- 
1917. He was asked, while held a prisoner in Lwow, if he would join 
a Polish government under Soviet control and, later, if he would serve 
as a high officer in the Red Army. Anders rejected both proposals, 
thereby incurring brutal treatment. 55 Furthermore, the Soviets sup- 
ported a small group of Polish communists and sympathizers led by 
the left-wing Polish writer Wanda Wasilewska. 56 Whatever Stalin's 
thoughts may have been, he told the German ambassador in Moscow 
on 25 September that he was opposed to leaving a rump Polish state 
because it might lead to friction between Germany and the USSR. At 
the same time, he proposed to exchange some of his preponderantly 
Polish territory for predominant Soviet influence in Lithuania. 57 

On 28 September 1939, Ribbentrop and Molotov signed the Ger- 
man-Soviet Treaty on Friendship and the Border between the USSR 
and Germany (doc. 12). The treaty significantly modified the German- 
Soviet demarcation line agreed to in the Secret Protocol of 23 August. 
Stalin gave up part of his ethnically Polish territory (Lublin Province 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


and part of Warsaw Province) in exchange for predominant Soviet in- 
fluence in Lithuania, except for Memel [Klaipeda], which stayed with 
Germany, while Vilnius became the capital of Lithuania (doc. 13a; see 
map 3). The treaty had three secret protocols, one of which specified 
the signatories' agreement to cooperate in suppressing Polish agitation 
affecting each other's territory (doc. 13b), which meant cooperation 
against Polish resistance movements. Another secret protocol specified 
the mutual exchange of persons formerly resident in the territories of 
the signatories, which referred to Germans living in Soviet Poland and 
Ukrainians and Belorussians living in German Poland. A few days 
later, the Politburo approved the proposal by Lavrenty Beria, head of 
the NKVD, to return some 33,000 Polish rank-and-file soldiers, resi- 
dents of German Poland, to the Germans (doc. 18). This led to an ex- 
change of prisoners of war between the two powers. 

The German-Soviet treaty of 28 September was followed by inten- 
sive political preparations and propaganda for Soviet-style elections to 
the National Assemblies in Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, 
held on 22 October 1939. (Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia 
were the official Soviet names for the former Polish territories until 
early November 1939.) The assemblies then "requested" union with 
the respective Soviet republics, requests granted by the Supreme Soviet 
on 1-2 November 1939. Nikita Khrushchev, then 1st Secretary of 
Ukraine, played a starring role in preparing and carrying out the elec- 
tions, as well as the subsequent Sovietization of western Ukraine. 58 

Polish Prisoners of War in the USSR, 1939 -1940 

The Polish officers taken prisoner were shocked in their first encoun- 
ters with the Red Army when they were treated as "enemies of the peo- 
ple" and sometimes deliberately humiliated by army political officers, 
who viewed them as Pans, or nobles, just as Soviet propaganda had 
presented them in 1920. 59 In fact, in 1939 only 3 percent of Polish of- 
ficers were of aristocratic origin, and more than two-fifths came from 
farmer or worker families. 60 Most came from the intelligentsia, mem- 
bers of which were generally impoverished gentry, whose sons tradi- 
tionally went into the military or civil service. Red Army politruks, or 
political instructors, sometimes tried to set Polish officers against their 
own authorities. In at least one case, a Soviet officer called on captive 
Polish officers to publicly condemn their generals and their govern- 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

ment, which they refused to do. 61 This was a more sophisticated vari- 
ant of the appeal contained in Soviet leaflets air-dropped on Polish 
troops, telling them to beat up their officers and generals and come 
over to the Soviet side. 62 

Polish historians believe that 23 0,000-240,000 members of the Pol- 
ish military were prisoners of war, including some 10,000 officers. The 
officers, however, were probably more numerous, since many con- 
cealed their rank and some escaped from provisional prisoner-of-war 
camps in Western Ukraine. 63 The Red Army was simply overwhelmed 
by the huge number of prisoners on its hands (doc. 11). In response, 
the Politburo decided in early October to approve the existing proce- 
dure: that privates of Ukrainian and Belorussian nationality be re- 
leased to return home, although some 25,000 of them, as well as some 
Poles, were to work on the Novograd Volynsky-Lvov [Nowogrod 
Wofyhski-Lwow] highway (doc. 14). Later, several thousand prison- 
ers were sent to work in Soviet mines (doc. 19). Officers were sepa- 
rated from the rank and file after first being held together with them in 
the transit-distribution camps. The captive Polish officers did not rep- 
resent a typical officer corps. According to an NKVD report of 28 Feb- 
ruary 1940, out of a total of 8,442 officers held at that time in the spe- 
cial camps, 2,336 were regulars, 5,456 were reservists, and 650 were 
retired. 64 Many of the reservists had higher-education degrees and 
some were prominent in their professions. 

The Politburo decided on 1 8 September that NKVD Convoy Troops 
were to take charge of the prisoners from the Red Army (doc. 7). In 
fact, the army was not equipped to run prisoner-of-war camps, 
whereas the NKVD had long and extensive experience in running the 
huge network of Soviet labor camps known as the GULAG [Glavnoe 
Upravlenie Lagerei — Main Administration of (Forced Labor) Camps], 
as well as experience conducting interrogations. 65 On the following 
day, 19 September, Beria issued orders establishing the Upravlenie po 
Delam Voennoplennykh [UPV — Administration for Prisoner-of-War 
Affairs] and setting up camps for the Polish prisoners of war. Seven of 
these camps were to serve at first as transit-distribution centers, but 
three were to become special prisoner-of-war camps — Kozelsk, Os- 
tashkov, and Starobelsk — and four were to become labor camps (doc. 
9; see map 4). 66 The UPV was subordinated to Beria, as was the divi- 
sion commander, Deputy Commissar of Internal Affairs Ivan Maslen- 
nikov, who was responsible for NKVD border, convoy, and interior 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


troops. It was, however, the ist Deputy Commissar of Gosudarstven- 
naia Bezopasnost [GB — State Security] Vsevolod Merkulov, one of Be- 
ria's closest collaborators and a personal friend, who kept a close eye 
on Polish prisoner-of-war affairs. 67 

Beria immediately gave orders to organize the collection of data/ 
evidence on specific categories of "anti-Soviet" prisoners. The whole 
Polish officer contingent was subjected to detailed investigation. They 
were to be "infiltrated" by agents and informers recruited from among 
the prisoners. Prisoners of war belonging to specific categories were to 
be "arrested" in the camps on the basis of material provided by agents 
and informers. In a decree of 8 October 1939, Beria listed the anti- 
Soviet groups to be uncovered and penetrated, "chiefly among former 
members of Polish c-r political parties, officers, and military officials" 
(doc. 16). These were the same categories of people as those listed for 
arrest in Beria's directive of 15 September 1939, just before the Red 
Army marched into eastern Poland. 68 

On 2 October the Politburo approved the proposals submitted by 
Beria and Mekhlis, head of the Red Army Political Administration, to 
place higher-ranking Polish officers and officials in Starobelsk; the po- 
lice, intelligence agents, and prison guards in Ostashkov; and privates 
from the German part of Poland in Kozelsk and Putivl (doc. 14). It was 
soon obvious, however, that Starobelsk could not hold all the officers 
and officials, so several thousand were sent to Kozelsk, which became 
an officer camp after the departure of the privates in late October. Pri- 
vates coming from German Poland were to be held until negotiations 
took place with the Germans and a decision was made whether to re- 
turn them to their homeland. In the same decision of 2 October, the 
Politburo agreed to release 800 Czechs captured while serving in the 
Polish Army, after each signed a statement that he would not fight 
against the USSR. Unlike the Czechs, who were traditionally pro-Rus- 
sian, remembered Soviet diplomatic support for their country in the 
Munich Crisis, and had not lost any territory to the Soviet Union, the 
vast majority of captured Polish officers viewed the USSR as no better 
than Nazi Germany. Some, however, told the politruks they would like 
to see Russia as Poland's ally against Germany. 69 

As it turned out, not only regular officers but also reserve officers, 
retired officers, some noncommissioned officers, policemen, and mem- 
bers of paramilitary youth organizations were detained in the pris- 
oner-of-war camps. When Nikolai Smirnov, commander of the Putivl 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

distribution camp, inquired about the release of some reserve officers, 
UPV head Pyotr Soprunenko instructed him on 23 October 1939 that 
professors, journalists, physicians, artists, and other specialists detained 
in the camp were to remain there together with intelligence agents, 
gendarmes, police, prominent military officials, those active in anti- 
Soviet political parties, landowners, and princes. Soprunenko wrote 
that these persons were not subject to release even if they were resi- 
dents of Western Belorussia, Western Ukraine, or Polish territory ceded 
to Germany (doc. 22). The same instruction was sent on 27 October to 
Pavel Borisovets, commander of Ostashkov camp. When Polish physi- 
cians and pharmacists referred to the Geneva Convention in their plea 
for release and Aleksandr Berezhkov, commander of Starobelsk camp, 
asked for instructions, he was told that it was not the Geneva Conven- 
tion but the NKVD UPV that should guide him in his work. 70 

Some Polish officers not taken prisoner in September 1939 escaped 
to Lithuania and were interned there. 71 On 9 November the Sov- 
narkom [SNK — Council of People's Commissars] approved the volun- 
tary entry into the USSR of former Polish military personnel interned 
in Lithuania. The privates were to be sent home, but the officers, mili- 
tary officials, and police were to be sent to two camps where they 
would be subject to "selection." This was to be treated as top secret 
(doc. 27), perhaps to prevent other Polish officers interned in Lithua- 
nia from going into hiding. (Most of those who remained interned in 
the Baltic States were transferred to prisoner-of-war camps in the 
USSR after the Soviet military occupation of those countries and the 
"elections" in 1940.) On 3 December 1939 the Politburo also ap- 
proved the arrest of all registered officers of the former Polish Army, 
that is, those registered in former eastern Poland. The arrests were car- 
ried out a few days later (docs. 31, 33, 34). To ensure that all captive 
Polish officers were placed in the camps, Aleksandr Zverev, head of the 
NKVD Upravlenie Ispravitelno-Trudovykh Kolonii [UITK — Admin- 
istration of Correctional Labor Colonies], was instructed on 15 De- 
cember to send "recuperated" officers to Kozelsk camp and police and 
gendarme officers to Ostashkov camp. Privates who were residents of 
German Poland were to be sent to Brest-Litovsk [Brzesc-Litewski] for 
delivery to the Germans, and residents of western Belorussia and west- 
ern Ukraine were to be sent home (doc. 35). According to one esti- 
mate, about 10 percent of all Polish Army officer prisoners were Jew- 
ish. 72 Some of them, residents of German Poland, petitioned the Soviet 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

authorities not to be sent home. However, most of these petitions were 
rejected (doc. 23). 

Three Special NKVD Camps 

The prisoners of war were brought to the camps partly by forced 
marches and partly by rail. Like most prisoners in the USSR, they trav- 
eled in crowded cattle cars with minimal food and drink. They could 
not wash, so they suffered from lice and bed bugs. When they arrived 
at the camps, the housing, kitchen, and other facilities proved inade- 
quate for the large numbers involved. 73 By early November most of 
the privates had been released, so conditions improved. The higher- 
ranking officers were placed in Starobelsk; the overflow was trans- 
ferred to Kozelsk; and the police and gendarmes were sent to Os- 

Kozelsk camp lay near the Zhizdra River about 250 kilometers by 
rail southeast of Smolensk, 5 kilometers from the town of Kozelsk, and 
7 kilometers from its railway station (see map 4). The camp site was an 
old dilapidated monastery known as the Optyn Hermitage, which in- 
cluded the skit (secluded part of a monastery) and a few barracks. Al- 
though the prisoners did not know it, they were imprisoned in a 
monastery complex famous in nineteenth-century Russia, the Kozelsk 
Vvedenskaia Optina Pustyn. It included a cathedral — the main build- 
ing in which the prisoners were lodged — and the skit, where Gogol, 
Dostoevsky, and Tolstoy had written some of their works and where 
the Polish officers were interrogated. In 1939-1940 the church and 
monastery buildings were dilapidated and the whole complex was 
known as the Dom Otdykha Imenii Maxima Gorkogo [The Maxim 
Gorky Rest Home]. 74 On 3 October 1939 the camp held 8,843 Polish 
military, including 117 officers, but by early November it held mostly 
officers. On 1 April 1940 the NKVD counted 4,599 prisoners, mostly 
officers, including four generals and an admiral. 75 There were 200 air- 
men in the camp, including a woman pilot, Janina Lewandowska, shot 
down in a reconnaissance plane in September 1939, who seems to have 
been the only female prisoner of war in the three special camps. Ac- 
cording to information gathered by the wartime Polish government in 
London from officer survivors who left the USSR in 1942, reserve offi- 
cers formed about half of the prisoners in Kozelsk camp. Among them 
were twenty-one docents (associate professors) and lecturers; more 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

than 300 military and civilian physicians; and several hundred judges, 
prosecutors, attorneys, and other law officials. Several officers had en- 
gineering degrees, and several hundred were primary and middle 
school teachers. 76 

Ostashkov camp lay 165-170 kilometers west of Kalinin (Tver). It 
used the church buildings of the former Nil Hermitage, named after 
the saintly monk Nil (d. 1554), on Stolbny Island in Lake Seliger, 
which lies 10 kilometers from the town of Ostashkov. 77 On 28 Sep- 
tember 1939, the camp held 8,731 prisoners; 12,235 arrived between 
that date and 29 October, and a total of 15,991 passed through the 
camp. Of these, 9,4 1 3 privates and noncommissioned officers resident 
in German Poland were released to the Germans; others were transferred 
to the Narkomchermet [NKChM — Narodny Komissariat Chernoi Met- 
allurgii — People's Commissariat of Ferrous Metallurgy] to work in the 
mines. Ostashkov camp was designated for police and gendarmes but 
also held some army officers, Polish military settlers, law personnel, and 
others taken prisoner in former eastern Poland. Of the 6,364 prisoners in 
the camp on 16 March 1940, police officers numbered 288. These men, 
together with a few priests, landowners, and law personnel, had varying 
degrees of higher education. They were joined by more military settlers 
after Soprunenko, on 29 October 1939, instructed the commanders 
of all prisoner-of-war camps to send them to Ostashkov (doc. 24). 78 
However, in late February 1940, the nonmilitary prisoners in the three 
camps were sent to NKVD prisons in the Kalinen/Tver, Smolensk, and 
Voroshilovgrad (Luhansk) regions (doc. 42). 

Starobelsk camp was located about 210 kilometers southeast of 
Kharkov. As in the two other camps, the site was occupied by religious 
buildings, in this case an old monastery with two churches and bar- 
racks. This might have been the old Starobelskii-Skorbiashchenskii 
convent near Kharkov. 79 Unlike the other camps, Starobelsk also took 
over some buildings in the town itself. The number of prisoners brought 
here between 28 September and 16 November 1939 was 11,262. On 
14 October the camp held 7,045 men, including 4,813 privates and 
noncommissioned officers, 2,232 officers, and 155 civil servants and 
gendarmes. The privates were soon released, however, while other 
non-officer prisoners were transferred to prisons in late February 
1940. Starobelsk held the greatest number of high-ranking officers, in- 
cluding eight generals. It is estimated that of the 3,893 prisoners pre- 
sent on 1 April 1940, the reserve officers included many with civilian 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


professions, including several hundred university professors and lec- 
turers; about 400 physicians; several hundred engineers, lawyers, and 
other law personnel; middle and primary school teachers; poets and 
journalists; social welfare workers; and some politicians. 80 

Details of Polish prisoner-of-war life in the three special camps can 
be found in reports by NKVD UPV inspectors, camp commanders, 
and commissars. In early October inspectors found a disastrous situa- 
tion in Kozelsk, which was unprepared for large numbers of prisoners. 
The monastery buildings and barracks had no windows. They had 
been equipped with two-tier instead of three-tier bunks, so many pris- 
oners had to sleep on the floor, and some had to take turns sleeping. 
There was not enough water; the bathhouse and laundries were out of 
order; and the kitchen could provide only one hot meal a day. There 
was no straw for mattresses, no dishes, changes of underwear, or warm 
clothes. The situation was somewhat better, though still far from satis- 
factory, in late November, when Soprunenko and Commissar Semyon 
Nekhoroshev visited the camp (doc. 30). The memoirs of Kozelsk sur- 
vivor Stanisfaw Swianiewicz, a professor at the Stefan Batory Univer- 
sity, Wilno, and diaries found on the bodies exhumed at Katyn confirm 
the bad living conditions, inadequate food, and poor medical facilities 
at Kozelsk. 

Similar conditions were noted in a 3 October inspection report on 
Starobelsk, which stated that the camp was not prepared to receive 
prisoners: there were inadequate supplies of materials, vegetables, and 
other food, and the living quarters were inadequately furnished. By 
late November, however, much had been done to improve the situation 
(doc. 32). 81 These reports are confirmed and fleshed out by more ex- 
tensive information on Starobelsk in the memoirs of the artist Jozef 
Czapski and his fellow prisoner Bronislaw Mlynarski. 82 

Little is known about conditions in Ostashkov because the two 
accounts known thus far were written by prisoners transferred to 
German captivity in October 1939. 83 These accounts also speak of 
crowded housing and generally inadequate amounts of poor food. The 
prisoners did a great deal of work to improve housing in return for ex- 
tra food. They also built a dike to connect the island with the mainland 
(doc. 83). On a poignant note, Ostashkov prisoners discovered an in- 
scription on the foundations of the landing gateway at Stolbny Island: 
"Kowalski, 1863." They saw it as a symbol of the continuing martyr- 
dom of the Polish nation. 84 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Polish memoirs mention constant hunger because the prisoners of 
war never had enough to eat. The standard daily fare was two servings 
of very thin soup, often with bits of rotten fish, rarely meat, and two 
small rations of soggy black bread. No vegetables and little if any 
sugar were provided — facts also mentioned in NKVD reports — and 
the tobacco ration was inadequate for smokers. The prisoners sold 
valuables — those not lost to thieves or confiscation — to acquire rubles 
with which to buy food and other goods. When these private sales 
were forbidden, they sold their valuables to the Glaviuvelirtorg [Main 
Jewelry Trade Administration], but were not allowed to receive more 
than 50 rubles at a time which they could spend in one month, al- 
though according to Beria's regulations, they could possess up to 150 
rubles per month. In any case, the "shops" that intermittently came to 
the camps always sold out immediately — partly because they had few 
goods to begin with and partly because the camp's NKVD officers 
bought goods for themselves at the shop's back door, as was the case in 
Starobelsk and probably the other two camps as well. 85 The shortages 
were alleviated for some prisoners by parcels from home. These were 
sent to prisoners of war in all three camps between the end of Novem- 
ber or early December 1939 and mid-March 1940, when correspon- 
dence with families was allowed. The camp personnel helped them- 
selves to part of the parcel contents, but the recipients shared what 
they had with less fortunate colleagues. 

Housing was always crowded. Medical service, generally performed 
by Polish doctors, was hampered by an almost total lack of medica- 
tions. Officers had to do some heavy physical work, such as gathering 
wood for the kitchen and hauling water. They complained that such 
work was exhausting, not only for the old and sick prisoners but also 
for the healthy ones who worked on starvation rations. The prisoners 
also had to construct tiers of bunks, barracks, and other buildings. 
Prisoner labor reduced upkeep costs to the Soviet state (food, lodging, 
etc.) as pointed out in the final report of the Ostashkov camp com- 
mander, Pavel Borisovets (doc. 83). 

The prisoners were subjected to many restrictions, the most onerous 
of which at first was lack of contact with relatives. They worried about 
the fate of their families, for they could not correspond with them, a 
right they allegedly possessed even according to Beria's regulations on 
the treatment of prisoners of war. 86 They complained and demanded 
permission to correspond with their families (doc. 20). In late Novem- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


ber-early December 1939 they were finally granted the right to write 
one letter or postcard per month and to receive mail. This correspon- 
dence gave them and their relatives much comfort until it was canceled 
in mid-March 1940. By that time, of course, their existence and postal 
addresses were known not only to their families and to the German au- 
thorities but also to the Polish government-in-exile, which functioned 
in France from late September until mid-June 1940. After the French 
defeat by the Germans, it relocated to London. 

Other restrictions pertained to religious practices and cultural-edu- 
cational activities. At first, religious services were held openly. A sur- 
vivor of Starobelsk noted: "Prisoners of the Mosaic [Jewish], Protes- 
tant, and Orthodox faiths participated en masse in Catholic services 
. . . and joined in the fraternal singing of religious hymns." 87 However, 
religious services were prohibited almost immediately, as were public 
prayer and hanging crosses on walls (doc. 32). Later, services were held 
secretly in dark corners of the former church buildings, where most of 
the prisoners in each camp were housed. In Kozelsk, a few minutes' si- 
lence was proclaimed by an anonymous speaker each evening, when 
the prisoners could pray. 88 Forty-five members of the military clergy — 
Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish — including the chief rabbi of the Pol- 
ish Army, Major Baruch Steinberg, were prisoners in the camps. Most 
of the clergy held in Starobelsk and Kozelsk were removed over Christ- 
mas, 1939, and taken to Moscow. They were sent back to the camps 
later, though not always the same ones. Out of the forty-five clergymen 
held in the three camps, only two survived; in July 1940 they were 
joined by five others, presumably interned earlier in Lithuania. 89 

The officers in Kozelsk and Starobelsk immediately organized dis- 
cussion groups and lectures by specialists on various subjects. When 
this type of activity was forbidden, it continued in secret. Another for- 
bidden activity was playing cards, prohibited in the USSR at this time 
as a "capitalist" game. The Starobelsk prisoners also defied the author- 
ities on 11 November 1939 with a special celebration of Polish Inde- 
pendence Day. Prisoners housed in the large church celebrated the hol- 
iday with recitals of patriotic poems by the Polish national poet Adam 
Mickiewicz (1798-1855) and some contemporary poets. 90 The mov- 
ing spirits in organizing cultural activities in Starobelsk, judged "c-r" 
(counterrevolutionary) by the NKVD, were Captain Mieczyslaw Ew- 
ert, Captain Ludwik Domoh (misspelled in NKVD reports as Domel), 
and Lieutenant Stanislaw Kwolek. In a 3 December 1939 report by 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Starobelsk camp commander Berezhkov and camp commissar Mikhail 
Kirshin, all three were charged with "c-r" activity under the cover of 
cultural work. They were also charged with inspiring resistance to 
camp regulations and telling fellow prisoners to always speak Polish 
when some, to please their captors, took to speaking Russian. Domoh 
was involved in another illegal activity, that of organizing a monetary 
fund from which prisoners could borrow cash to be returned after the 
war (doc. 32). Kwolek committed the crime of making and displaying 
a large, wooden cross. 91 He was taken out of the camp immediately af- 
ter 1 1 November, together with Captains Jozef Rytel and Mieczyslaw 
Ewert, and all three were placed in NKVD Prison no. 5 in Kharkov. 
They escaped the executions of spring 1940 but were charged a few 
months later with anti-Soviet activity and sentenced to eight years in 
the GULAG. Domoh, Rytel, and Ewert survived to join the Polish 
Army in the USSR in 1941-1942. Kwolek, however, who suffered 
from tuberculosis, was deprived of medical care in prison after March 
1940 and also in the labor camp he was sent to in Komi Autonomous 
Soviet Socialist Republic [ASSR], where he died in April 194 1. In May 
1989 all three were declared innocent of anti-Soviet activity. 92 

NKVD political workers devoted a great deal of time and effort to 
the political "reeducation" of the Polish prisoners of war. They were 
shown Soviet films, a long list of which is given in the NKVD report on 
Starobelsk camp dated 3 December 1939 (doc. 32). They could read 
Russian as well as Polish communist newspapers published in western 
Ukraine and western Belorussia. They were subjected to a constant 
loudspeaker barrage of news and propaganda, as well as Soviet songs — 
in particular, one which described the USSR as "the only land of true 
freedom." The official goal of NKVD "mass political work" was reha- 
bilitation, which meant conversion to communism, but the real objec- 
tive was the recruitment of prisoners as informers or agents. 

It is clear, however, that political education had little effect on the 
prisoners. The officers listened to the political talks but often heckled 
the politruks; they went to see the films but protested against those de- 
faming Poland (doc. 39). They used newspapers mostly for cigarette 
and toilet paper, uses also common in Soviet life outside the camps. 
NKVD reports mention the patriotism of the officers, most of whom 
believed that Poland would rise again in its previous shape (doc. 30). 
In Kozelsk there was even a mini-underground press. Two handwrit- 
ten newspapers circulated for a while before their editors were discov- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


ered and punished. After this, news was generally presented orally af- 
ter lights out by specially designated persons whose identity was never 
discovered. 93 In Ostashkov prisoners organized a small musical group 
that played Polish folk music on handmade instruments. They also 
sang patriotic songs, some whose verses have survived. These spoke of 
the prisoners' longing and pain and of the enemies who came by 
stealth like criminals to tear at their country, of going into captivity 
without complaint, mourned by mothers and wives and in the prayers 
and tears of children. The last verse said: "When we are needed, if fate 
so decrees, we will not think of wounds and graves, and for Thee, 
beloved country, we will give our lives." 94 

NKVD Interrogations and Investigations 

During the whole period between their capture in September 1939 
and the "clearing out of the camps" in spring 1940, the prisoners were 
constantly subjected to interrogations, mostly at night. They were 
questioned about their prewar activities, their political views, their 
families and friends. Most of the NKVD interrogators were ignorant 
of the world outside the USSR. For example, Reserve Captain Jozef 
Czapski — an artist who had spent eight years in Paris — wrote that his 
Starobelsk interrogators were convinced that he had been sent there by 
the Polish foreign minister as a spy to draw a plan of the city. They 
could not believe that a city map could be bought for a few cents at the 
newsstands on every street corner in Paris. 95 More sophisticated inter- 
rogators proposed "cooperation" to selected prisoners if they would 
either report on their colleagues in the camp or perform intelligence 
work on the other side of the "cordon" (the German-Soviet demarca- 
tion border in Poland) or elsewhere. Colonel (later General) Zygmunt 
Berling, who declared his willingness to cooperate, wrote in his mem- 
oirs that he angered his interrogator by rejecting a proposal to report 
on colleagues either in the camp or in Vilnius, if sent there. 96 Despite 
his refusal, Berling was chosen to survive along with a group of about 
sixty Starobelsk prisoners of war who reacted positively to NKVD 
proposals, or declared readiness to serve in the Red Army, or stated 
that they preferred to stay in the USSR rather than go home, the 
choices offered to them. 

The most intensive interrogations took place from late November 
1939 to the end of January 1940. At this time, special NKVD officers 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

were sent from Moscow to the three camps. They were given powers 
overriding those of the camp commanders and commissars (doc. 26). 
These men were more educated and sophisticated than the camp inter- 
rogators, which was especially true of NKVD Major Vasily Zarubin 
who had spent several years at Soviet diplomatic posts in Western Eu- 
rope. 97 He employed his cultural prowess and courtesy to extract more 
information from the Polish officers in Kozelsk camp than the "Special 
Section" had managed to do earlier. 98 

Why did the NKVD conduct this special intelligence operation in 
the three camps at this time? Perhaps a decision was made in Moscow 
to carry out a more efficient operation than the one implemented by 
the camp intelligence personnel in order to select prisoners who might 
be useful to the Soviet government and sentence the rest. Perhaps the 
operation was directly connected with the outbreak of the Soviet- 
Finnish War (30 November 1939) and Soviet fear of Western interven- 
tion. Perhaps the goal was to have reliable prisoner data on hand in 
case of negotiations with the Polish government for their release. What- 
ever the case may be, no documents have been found from late 1939- 
early 1940 stating what was to be done with the prisoners. Very little 
has been found on the special investigations, and most of them deal 
with Ostashkov. Sometime in November 1939, Soprunenko proposed 
using the policemen prisoners of war to replace prisoner-of-war resi- 
dents of Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia working at Construc- 
tion Site no. 1 (the Novograd Volynsky-Lvov highway) and in the Nar- 
komchermet mining operations who wanted to go home (doc. 29). 

This proposal was not taken up, but Soprunenko's suggestion may 
have inspired Beria to send a special investigation brigade headed by 
Lieutenant Stepan Belolipetsky to Ostashkov on 4 December 1939. At 
the end of December, Beria ordered the brigade to prepare all the Os- 
tashkov cases for presentation to the NKVD Osoboe Soveshchanie 
[OSO — NKVD Special Board] by the end of January 1940, and Sopru- 
nenko himself was ordered to proceed to Ostashkov with ten NKVD 
officers to oversee the operation. Beria specified that cases of "opera- 
tional" [intelligence] interest were to be selected separately in order to 
expose the prisoners' contacts both in the USSR and abroad and that 
former Polish intelligence service agents were to be probed for knowl- 
edge about persons sent at a previous time to the USSR. The prisoners 
of operational interest belonged, in fact, mostly to the same categories as 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


those listed in Beria's directive of 8 October (doc. 16), to which he re- 
ferred in his directive of 3 1 December (doc. 37). Beria ordered similar op- 
erations for Kozelsk and Starobelsk, but without mentioning the OSO. 

Soprunenko and Belolipetsky reported to Beria on 1 February 1940 
that the investigation in Ostashkov was finished and the cases were be- 
ing transferred to the OSO (doc. 40). The only documented case that 
has survived, out of thousands of cases for both police and army pris- 
oners, is that of policeman Szczepan Olejnik, dated 6 January 1940. 
He was born in 19 11 in the village of Tarnovka [Tarnowka], Volhynia 
[Wolyh], and served in the town of Borschev [Borszczow], today in 
western Ukraine. Olejnik was indicted on the basis of Article 58, Para- 
graph 13, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Soviet Republic (the 
paragraph is the same in the code of the Soviet Union), which specified 
as a crime any active struggle against the working class or the revolu- 
tionary movement, either under the tsarist regime, which collapsed in 
March 19 17, or during the Civil War of 191 8-1922 (doc. 38). Of 
course, the accused was too young to have committed such a crime in 
those years, so it is clear that Article 58, Paragraph 13, of the Criminal 
Code was stretched to cover any alleged anti-Soviet activity after 
19 1 7. Nor is there any mention of evidence or witnesses, so it seems 
that Olejnik was convicted simply because, as a Polish policeman, he 
must have "struggled against the revolutionary movement" or "the 
working class." If this is correct, it is possible that those prisoners in 
the three special camps whose cases were actually completed before 
Stalin decided to have all of them shot, were convicted on the basis of 
Article 58, Paragraph 13, of the Soviet Criminal Code. The same 
would apply to the other prisoners transferred from the three camps to 
NKVD jails in western Ukraine and western Belorussia, as well as 
those already held in these jails. Olejnik was shot with the other Os- 
tashkov policemen in Kalinin (Tver). 

The special investigations of the Polish prisoners of war in the three 
special camps and of the casework in Ostashkov may have been con- 
nected with "clearing out" the camps, originally perhaps to hold ex- 
pected Finnish prisoners of war from the Soviet-Finnish War (30 No- 
vember 1939-12 March 1940). The constant counting of the Polish 
officer prisoners, however, along with their classification by rank, pre- 
war residence, and nationality (docs. 28, 36, 43, 44), may have been 
related to other plans. Their fate does not appear to have been sealed 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

either during the investigation period or even somewhat later. On 20 
February 1940, Soprunenko sent Beria the UPV proposals regarding 
the army officers. He suggested that about 300 sick men in the Kozelsk 
and Starobelsk officer contingents, as well as invalids and men over 
sixty, be sent home. He proposed the same for some 400-500 reserve 
officers, residents of the western regions of Soviet Ukraine and Soviet 
Belorussia, who were farmers, engineers, technicians, physicians, and 
teachers. At the same time, however, he requested permission to draw 
up cases against officers of the KOP, law personnel, landowners, ac- 
tivists of the Polska Organizacja Wojskowa [P.O.W. — Polish Military 
Organization], the Sokol [Hawk — a Polish sports-education organiza- 
tion], and intelligence and information officers, about 400 men in all. 
He proposed that these cases be examined by the OSO. Finally, Sopru- 
nenko suggested that the investigation of the above categories of pris- 
oners take place in the Belorussian and Ukrainian Commissariats of 
Internal Affairs, or, if this was not feasible, he proposed concentrating 
all the prisoners in the specified categories in Ostashkov camp and 
conducting the investigation there (doc. 41). 

Soprunenko's proposals indicate that at this time, even the head of 
UPV thought it possible to release old and sick officers, as well as cer- 
tain categories of reserve officers whose civilian professions could 
make them useful to the USSR. There is no documented Beria reply, 
but it is clear that he rejected this part of Soprunenko's report; the 
other part may have inspired the commissar to issue a directive that 
certain categories of prisoners, targeted from the beginning, be taken 
out of the camps and transferred to detention elsewhere. Thus, on 22 
February 1940, Deputy Commissar of State Security Merkulov or- 
dered that all former prison guards, intelligence agents, provocateurs, 
military settlers, law personnel, landowners, merchants, and large 
property holders held in the three special camps be transferred to pris- 
ons and the control of oblast [administrative region] NKVD organs. 
All the materials collected on them were to be transferred to the ap- 
propriate investigative units of the NKVD administration (doc. 42). 
Beria's more detailed directive to this end stipulated that the transfer 
be carried out in "absolute secrecy." Unlike the Soprunenko-Nekhoro- 
shev proposal, Beria's directive did not mention the OSO. 

In any case, it seems that army officers and police were to be sub- 
jected to special treatment at this time. Thus, a few days later, on 26 
February, Soprunenko informed Berezhkov at Starobelsk camp that 
Commissar Nekhoroshev's instructions for a second round of filling 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


out prisoners' personal data (presumably on special cards) had been 
approved by Beria. Berezhkov was therefore to continue the work of 
filling out the detailed information on all the prisoners, especially the 
supplementary questions in the personal questionnaire." On 27 Feb- 
ruary, Ivan Makliarsky, head of the UPV Uchetno-Registratsionny Ot- 
del NKVD SSSR [URO— Records Registration Department, UPV 
NKVD USSR], sent a similar instruction to Vasily Korolev, Kozelsk 
camp commander, who was also told to provide four photographs of 
each officer and higher-level civil servant. The supplementary ques- 
tions were probably related to those sent out in early January 1940. 100 
This may or may not have been connected with the prisoners' impend- 
ing doom. However that may be, on 5 March 1940, the Politburo de- 
cided that they were to be shot (doc. 47). For a discussion of this deci- 
sion, see the introduction to Part II. 

The text of the Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the 
USSR had been agreed on before German Foreign Minister Joachim 
von Ribbentrop arrived in Moscow on 23 August 1939. Both German 
and Russian documents use the term "treaty," but in historical litera- 
ture it is called a "pact." 

• 1 • 

Non-Aggression Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union 
23 August 1939, Moscow 

Treaty of Non- Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union 

The Government of the USSR and the Government of Germany 
Guided by the desire to strengthen the cause of peace between the USSR 
and Germany, and proceeding from the basic provisions of the neutrality 
pact concluded between the USSR and Germany in April 1926, 101 we 
have reached the following accord: 

Article I 

Both Contracting Parties obligate themselves to refrain from any violence, 
any aggressive action, or any attack on each other either separately or in 
conjunction with other powers. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Article II 

In the event that one of the Contracting Parties becomes the object of mil- 
itary actions on the part of a third power, the other Contracting Party shall 
not in any way support that power. 

Article III 

The Governments of both Contracting Parties shall remain in contact with 
one another in the future for [the purpose of] consultation, in order to in- 
form each other on issues affecting their common interests. 

Article IV 

Neither of the Contracting Parties shall participate in any grouping of 
powers that is aimed directly or indirectly at the other party. 

Article V 

In the event that disputes or conflicts arise between the Contracting Par- 
ties on issues of one kind or another, both parties shall resolve these dis- 
putes or conflicts exclusively in a peaceful way through the friendly ex- 
change of opinions or, if necessary, by creating a commission to settle the 

Article VI 

This treaty is concluded for a period of ten years, 102 and unless one of the 
Contracting Parties denounces it one year before its expiration, the treaty 
shall be considered as automatically extended for the next five years. 

Article VII 

This treaty is subject to ratification within the shortest possible time. The 
exchange of ratification documents must take place in Berlin. The treaty 
shall go into force immediately upon its signature. 103 

Done in two originals, in the German and Russian languages, in Mos- 
cow, on 23 August 1939. 

On the Authority For the Government 

of the USSR Government of Germany 
V. Molotov I[J]. Ribbentrop 

The outlines of the territorial agreement were sketched out in secret 
German-Soviet talks in Berlin in July-August 1939. The provisions of 
the Secret Supplementary Protocol were negotiated in the Kremlin by 
Molotov and Ribbentrop with the help of their legal experts on the 
night of 23-24 August 1939. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

• 2 • 

Secret Supplementary Protocol to the Non-Aggressi 
between Germany and the Soviet Union 
23 August 1939, Moscow 

Secret Supplementary Protocol to the Treaty of Non- Aggression 
between Germany and the Soviet Union 

Upon signing the Non-Aggression Treaty between Germany and the 
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 104 the undersigned plenipotentiaries 
of both parties discussed in strict confidentiality the issue of delimiting 
their respective spheres of interest in Eastern Europe. This discussion led 
to the following result: 

1. In the event of a territorial and political restructuring of the regions 
belonging to the Baltic States (Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania), the 
northern border of Lithuania shall simultaneously be the border between 
the spheres of interest of Germany and the USSR. In this regard, Lithua- 
nia's interests with respect to the Vilna [Wilno, Vilnius] region shall be rec- 
ognized by both parties. 

2. In the event of a territorial and political restructuring of the regions 
that are part of the Polish state, the border between the spheres of interest 
of Germany and the USSR shall approximately follow the line of the 
Narew, Wish [Wisla], and San Rivers. 105 

The question of whether it is desirable in their mutual interests to pre- 
serve an independent Polish state, and, if so, what the borders of this state 
would be, can be definitively clarified only in the course of further politi- 
cal developments. 

In any case, both governments will resolve this question by amicable 
mutual agreement. 106 

3. Regarding southeastern Europe, the Soviet side emphasizes the 
USSR's interest in Bessarabia. The German side declares its complete po- 
litical disinterest in these regions. 

4. This protocol will be kept in strict secrecy by both parties. 

Moscow, 23 August 1939 

On the Authority For the Government 

of the USSR Government of Germany 

V.Molotov I[J]. Ribbentrop 

The German attack on Poland began at dawn, 1 September 1939. 
Polish armies retreated before an overwhelming foe but fought battles 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

in central and southeastern Poland while Warsaw suffered a devastat- 
ing siege by German artillery and dive bombers, 7-27 September. His- 
torians give different reasons for Stalin's resistance to German pressure 
to send Soviet forces into eastern Poland, but it was probably due to a 
combination of factors: uncertainty as to what military action would 
be taken by Warsaw's Western allies; a desire to conclude peace with 
Japan; military supply problems in the western USSR; and a desire to 
wait until the fall of the Polish capital was imminent. In any case, al- 
though the military orders for the Ukrainian and Belorussian fronts 
were first dated 9 September, the date was changed to 14 September 
and the final orders for battle readiness were set for the end of the day 
on the 1 6th for the Ukrainian and the dawn of the 17th for the Be- 
lorussian front. The order below set forth the political orientation for 
the Red Army troops involved. 

a. 005 of the Military Council of the Belorussian Front to the Troops 
in the Goals of the Red Army's Entry into Western Belorussia 
16 September 1939, Smolensk 


Order no. 005 of the Military Council of the Belorussian Front 
16 September 1939, Smolensk 

Comrade Red Army Soldiers, Commanders, and Political Workers! 

The Polish landowners and capitalists have enslaved the working peo- 
ple of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine. 107 

Through the use of White terror, field courts-martial, and punitive 
expeditions, they are suppressing the revolutionary movement, impos- 
ing national oppression and exploitation, and sowing ruin and devasta- 
tion 108 

The Great Socialist Revolution gave the Polish people the right to se- 
cede. 109 Polish landowners and capitalists, having crushed the revolution- 
ary movement of workers and peasants, seized Western Belorussia and 
Western Ukraine, deprived these peoples of their Soviet homeland, and 
shackled them in the chains of bondage and oppression. 110 

The rulers of the lords' Poland have now thrown our Belorussian and 
Ukrainian brothers into the meat grinder of a second imperialist war. 111 

National oppression and the enslavement of laborers led Poland to mil- 
itary defeat. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


The oppressed peoples of Poland are facing the threat of total ruin and 
extermination by their enemies. 

In Western Ukraine and Belorussia a revolutionary movement is spread- 
ing. Demonstrations and uprisings by the Belorussian and Ukrainian peas- 
antry in Poland have begun. The working class and peasantry of Poland 
are uniting their forces in order to wring the necks of their bloody oppres- 
sors. 112 

Comrade fighters, commanders, and political workers of the Belorus- 
sian Front, our revolutionary duty and obligation is to render immediate 
assistance and support to our brother Belorussians and Ukrainians in or- 
der to rescue them from the threat of ruin and massacre by their enemies. 

In fulfilling this historic task, we have no intention of violating the non- 
aggression pact between the USSR and Germany. 113 We cannot allow the 
enemies of the Belorussian and Ukrainian peoples to harness them to a 
new yoke of exploitation and ruin, or to subject them to massacre and 

We come not as conquerors but as liberators of our brother Belorus- 
sians and Ukrainians and the workers of Poland. 114 
i order: 

1. Units of the Belorussian Front shall act decisively to aid the workers 
of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine, moving all along the front in 
a decisive offensive. 

2. In a lightning, crushing blow, rout the lordly-bourgeois Polish troops 
and liberate the workers, peasants, and laborers of Western Belorussia. 

Under the slogans "For our happy Soviet homeland" and "For our 
great Stalin," let us fulfill our military oath and our duty to our homeland. 

The order shall be read out loud in all companies, batteries, squadrons, 
escadrilles, and garrisons, starting at 1600 hours, 16 September 1939. 

Troop Commander of the Belorussian Front 

Army Commander 2nd Rank Kovalev 

Members of the Military Council of the Belorussian Front: 

Corps Commissar Susaikov 

Divisional Commissar Smokachev 

Divisional Commander Gusev 


On 14 September, Molotov had informed the German ambassador 
in Moscow, Friedrich Werner von der Schulenburg, that Soviet mili- 
tary action could begin earlier than expected. On the same day, 
Ribbentrop sent Schulenburg a memorandum stating that Warsaw 
would fall in the next few days. At 2 a.m. on 17 September, Stalin, 
Molotov, and Schulenburg agreed on the text of the note to be handed 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

to the Polish ambassador. Immediately thereafter, Soviet Deputy Com- 
missar for Foreign Affairs Vladimir Potemkin roused Polish Ambas- 
sador Waclaw Grzybowski and requested him to come to his office. He 
tried to hand the note to Grzybowski and, when the latter refused to 
accept it, had it delivered to the Polish Embassy while the ambassador 
was still in his office. Grzybowski did, however, agree to notify the Pol- 
ish government of the contents of the note. The Soviet note was sent to 
all the heads of foreign diplomatic missions in Moscow, with the state- 
ment that the Soviet government would conduct a policy of neutrality 
toward their countries. 

• 4 • 

Soviet Government Note Handed to the Polish Ambassador 
in the USSR, Waclaw Grzybowski 
17 September 1939, Moscow 

Mr. Ambassador! 

The Polish-German War has revealed the internal bankruptcy of the 
Polish state. In ten days of hostilities, Poland has lost all its industrial re- 
gions and cultural centers. Warsaw no longer exists as the capital of 
Poland. 115 The Polish government has collapsed and shows no signs of 
life. This means that the Polish state and its government have, in fact, 
ceased to exist. 116 Therefore, the agreements concluded between the 
USSR and Poland have ceased to operate. 117 Left to its own devices and 
bereft of leadership, Poland has become a fertile field for all kinds of acci- 
dents and surprises, which could pose a threat to the USSR. Therefore, the 
Soviet government, which has been neutral until now, can no longer main- 
tain a neutral attitude toward these facts. 

Nor can the Soviet government remain indifferent to the fact that its 
kindred Ukrainian and Belorussian peoples, living on Polish territory, are 
abandoned to their fate and left unprotected. 118 

In view of this state of affairs, the Soviet government has directed the 
High Command of the Red Army to order troops to cross the frontier and 
to take under their protection the lives and property of the population of 
Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia. 

At the same time, the Soviet government intends to take all measures to 
liberate the Polish people from the disastrous war into which they have 
been dragged by their unwise leaders and to give them the opportunity to 
live a peaceful life. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 45 

Please accept, Mr. Ambassador, assurances of my sincere respect, 

People's Commissar for Foreign Affairs of the USSR 
V. Molotov 

• 5 • 

From the Official Diary of Soviet Deputy People's Commissar of Foreign Affairs 
Potemkin on a Conversation with Polish Ambassador Grzybowski 
17 September 1939, Moscow 

Extract no. 2 
From the Diary of V. P. Potemkin 
No. 5483 

Meeting with Polish Ambassador Grzybowski, 
17 September 1939 
3:15 a.m. 

To the ambassador, woken up by us at 2 a.m., who arrived at the Com- 
missariat for Foreign Affairs at 3 a.m. visibly frightened, I read Comrade 
Molotov's note to the Polish government. 119 

The ambassador, pronouncing the words with difficulty due to his agi- 
tation, declared to me that he could not accept the note handed to him. He 
rejects the evaluation of the Polish military and political situation con- 
tained in the note. The ambassador considers that the Polish-German War 
is just beginning and that one cannot speak of the collapse of the Polish 
state. The main forces of the Polish Army are untouched and are prepar- 
ing to mount a decisive counterattack against the German armies. In these 
circumstances, the Red Army's crossing of the Polish frontier constitutes a 
completely unprovoked attack on the [Polish] Republic. The ambassador 
refuses to inform [his] government of the Soviet note, which [he says] tries 
to justify this attack by unfounded statements that Poland has been al- 
legedly smashed by the Germans and that the Polish government no 
longer exists. 120 

I countered Grzybowski [by saying] that he could not refuse to accept 
the note handed to him. This document, coming from the government of 
the USSR, contains declarations of the utmost importance, about which 
the ambassador is obliged to immediately inform his government. The 
ambassador would be burdened with a very heavy responsibility to his 
own country if he rejected carrying out this, his most important obliga- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

tion. The question of Poland's fate is being decided. The ambassador does 
not have the right to hide from his own country the declarations contained 
in the note of the Soviet government, addressed to the Polish Republic. 

Grzybowski clearly did not know how to counter the above arguments. 
He attempted to argue that our note should be handed to the Polish gov- 
ernment through our embassy. I replied that we no longer had an embassy 
in Poland. All its personnel are already in the USSR, except perhaps for a 
small number of purely technical workers. 121 

Then Grzybowski stated that he did not have any regular telegraphic 
contact with Poland. Two days ago, it was suggested that he contact [his] 
government through Bucharest. Now the ambassador is not certain whether 
he can utilize even this path. 122 

I asked the ambassador about the location of the Polish foreign minister 
[Jozef Beck]. Having received the reply that he was most probably in 
Kremenets [Krzemieniec], I proposed to the ambassador that if he so 
wished, I could ensure the immediate transmission of his telegraphic re- 
ports through our lines [of communication]. 123 

Grzybowski again repeated that he cannot accept the note, for it would 
not be in keeping with the dignity of the Polish government. 

I told the ambassador that the note had been already read to him, so he 
knew its contents. If the ambassador did not want to take the note with 
him, it would be delivered to him at the embassy. 

At this moment, having decided to send the note to the embassy and 
have it delivered in return for a receipt before the ambassador went back 
there, I asked Grzybowski to wait a few minutes for me, explaining that I 
intended to inform Com. [Comrade] Molotov by telephone of his state- 

After leaving [the room], I gave the order to use my car to send the note 
to the embassy, where a member of my secretariat was to deliver it and 
take a receipt. 

Having informed Com. Molotov by telephone of the stand taken by the 
ambassador, I returned to Grzybowski and resumed the conversation. The 
ambassador again tried to prove that Poland was not at all crushed by 
Germany, all the more so because England and France were already 
demonstrating their real aid for it. 124 Referring to our entry into Polish 
territory, the ambassador cried that if it took place, it would mean the 
fourth partition of Poland and its annihilation. 

I pointed out to the ambassador that our note heralded the liberation of 
the Polish people from war and our help for them to begin a peaceful life. 
Grzybowski could not calm down, arguing that we were helping the Ger- 
mans to annihilate Poland. In this situation, the ambassador did not un- 
derstand the practical sense of our informing the Polish government about 
the order for Soviet armies to cross into Polish territory. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


I observed to the ambassador that when the Polish government received 
our note, it would perhaps not only understand the motives for our deci- 
sion but also agree on the pointlessness of any counteraction to our entry 
[into Poland]. In this way, it might perhaps be possible to prevent armed 
clashes and unnecessary loss of life. 125 

Since I constantly returned to warning the ambassador of the responsi- 
bility he might bear to his own country in refusing to transmit our note to 
[his] government, Grzybowski finally began to give way. He declared to 
me that he would inform his government of the contents of our note. He 
even turned to me with the request to give him all possible help in [secur- 
ing] the fastest way of sending telegraphic information to Poland. [But] re- 
garding the note as a document, the ambassador [said] that, as before, he 
could not accept it. 

I repeated to Grzybowski that the note would be delivered to him at the 

After the ambassador left, I was informed that the note had been trans- 
ported to the embassy and delivered there in return for a receipt while the 
ambassador was still with me. 126 

V. Potemkin 

Extract sent to: J. Stalin, V. Molotov, and the Deputy Commissars of For- 
eign Affairs V. G. Dekanozov and S. A. Lozovsky. 

The Polish commander in chief, Marshal Edward Smigry-Rydz, 127 
issued this order to the Polish armed forces just before crossing into 
Romania with the government to avoid capture by Soviet troops. Both 
the government and Smigry-Rydz planned to proceed to Allied France 
and reconstruct the Polish Army there. Owing to German pressure on 
the Romanian government, most of the high officials and officers were 
interned in Romania, but on 30 September 1939 a new government 
was formed in France headed by General Wladyslaw Sikorski as pre- 
mier. He raised a new Polish army from some 3 5,000 soldiers who had 
traveled from Romania and Hungary to France and from Polish immi- 
grant workers living in France. In November he became commander in 
chief of Polish armed forces. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 6 ■ 

Order of the Commander in Chief of the Polish Army, Marshal 
Edward Smigly-Rydz, Regarding the Entry of Soviet Forces into Poland 
17 September 1939, Kuty 128 

The Soviets have come in. I order a general retreat into Romania and 
Hungary by the shortest routes. Do not fight the Soviets except in case of 
their [attack] or attempts to disarm our units. The assignment for Warsaw 
and [Modlin] is unchanged: they are to defend themselves against the Ger- 
mans. 129 [The towns] approached by the Soviets should negotiate with 
them to allow the garrisons to leave for Romania or Hungary. 130 

Commander in Chief 
Marshal of Poland 
E. Smigfy-Rydz 

Contrary to custom, the military did not look after prisoners of war. 
The NKVD took charge of the Polish prisoners of war as of 1 8 Sep- 
tember 1939. 

• 7 • 

Politburo Decision on Placing POW Reception Points under NKVD Protection (Excerpt) 
18 September 1939, Moscow 131 

Top Secret 
From the special file 
To Comrades Beria and Safonov 
No. P 7/150 
18 September 1939 
Excerpt from Minutes no. 7 of the TsK [Central Committee] Politburo 
Meeting of 193 [9] 
Decision of 18 September 1939 
150 — Item of the KO [Komitet Oborony — Defense Committee] 
On the transfer of USSR NKVD Convoy Troops to a wartime footing 

Ratify the following decision of the KO: 

1. To put the NKVD Convoy Troops in the Belorussian, Kiev, and Len- 
ingrad Special Military Districts on a wartime footing as of 20 September 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

2. To take under the protection of the NKVD Convoy Troops all POW 
reception points located in the Belorussian and Kiev Special Military Dis- 
tricts, also the camps and reception points for POWs in Kozelsk (BSSR) 
[Belorussian SSR, or Soviet Socialist Republic] and Putivl (UkSSR) [Ukrai- 
nian Soviet Socialist Republic]. 

Secretary, Central Committee 

The NKVD institution established to be in charge of the Polish pris- 
oners of war was the Upravlenie po Delam Voennoplennykh [UPV — 
Administration for Prisoner-of-War Affairs] . 

Lavrenty P. Beria's Order no. 0308 on the Organization of the UPV 
and POW Camps under the NKVD USSR 
19 September 1939, Moscow 


Order of the USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
19 September 1939 
No. 0308 

1. On the basis of the Regulations on Prisoners of War, 132 organize a Pris- 
oner-of-War Administration under the NKVD USSR. 

2. Approve the appended staff for the Prisoner-of-War Administration. 133 

3. Appoint Com. Major P. K. Soprunenko to be head of the Prisoner-of- 
War Administration and Regimental Commissar Com. Nekhoroshev to 
be commissar of the administration. 

Appoint as deputies to the head of the administration: 

1) GB [State Security] Lieutenant Com. 1. 1. Khokhlov 

2) Com. Major I. M. Polukhin for security 

4. Organize the following eight camps to hold POWs: 

1) Ostashkov camp — use the buildings of the former NKVD children's 
colony on Stolobnoe [Stolbny] Island (in Lake Seliger), Kalinin Oblast 
[Administrative Region], for 7,000 persons, to be increased to 10,000 by 
1 October. 

2) Yukhnov camp — use the buildings of the Pavlishchev Woods Sanato- 
rium, Babynino Station, Western Railway, for 5,000 men, to be increased 
to 10,000 men by 1 October. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

3 ) Kozelsk camp — use the buildings of the Gorky Rest Home at Kozelsk 
Station, Dzerzhinsky Railway, for 7,000 men, to be increased to 10,000 
men by 1 October. 

4) Putivl camp — use the buildings of the former Sofronevsk Monastery 
and peat works at Tetkino Station, Moscow-Kiev Railway, for 7,000 per- 
sons, to be increased to 10,000 by 25 October. 

5) Kozelshchansk camp — use the buildings of the former Kozelsh- 
chansk Monastery at Kozelshchina Station, Southern Railway, for 5,000 
persons, to be increased to 10,000 by 1 October. 

6) Starobelsk camp — use the buildings of the former Starobelsk Monas- 
tery at Starobelsk Station, Moscow-Donbass [Donets coal basin] Railway, 
for 5,000 persons, to be increased to 8,000 by 1 October. 

7) Yuzha camp — use the buildings of the former NKVD children's labor 
colony at Vyazniki Station, Northern Railway, for 3,000 persons, to be in- 
creased to 6,000 by 5 October. 

8 ) Oranki camp — use the buildings of the former Oranki Monastery, at 
Znamenka Station, Moscow-Kazan Railway, for 2,000 persons, to be in- 
creased to 4,000 by 1 October. 

5. Approve the appended standard staff contingent for POW camps 
and the instruction on POW camps' operation and daily routine. * 1 34 

6. Approve as commanders and commissars of the camps: 

1) Ostashkov — 

Major Com. P. F. Borisovets as commander 

Senior Political Instructor I. V. [A.] Yurasov as commissar 

2) Yukhnov — 

Major Com. F. I. Kadyshev as commander 
Battalion Commissar E. Sh. Gilchonok as commissar 

3 ) Kozelsk — 

Major Com. V. N. Korolev as commander 

Senior Political Instructor M. M. Alekseev as commissar 

4) Putivl— 

Major Com. N. N. Smirnov as commander 
Battalion Commissar S. P. Vasiagin as commissar 

5) Kozelshchansk — 

GB 1 st Lieutenant Com. V. L. Sokolov as commander 
Captain Com. F. S. Akulenko as commissar 

6) Starobelsk — 

GB Captain Com. Berezhkov as commander 

Battalion Commissar Com. M. M. Kirshin as commissar 

* Crossed out in Beria's hand. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


7) Yuzha— 

GB 2nd Lieutenant Com. A. F. Kii as commander 
GB ist Lieutenant Com. G. V. Korotkov as commissar 

8) Oranki— 

GB ist Lieutenant [I.] Sorokin as commander 
GB Lieutenant V. D. Kuznetsov as commissar 

7. Assign Cheka operational servicing of POWs in the camps to the 
NKVD USSR Special Department and its local organs. 135 

Corns. Kobulov (responsible), Belianov, Soprunenko, and Kornienko 
shall, within two days' time, draw up the essential instructions to the 
NKVD District Special Departments and submit them to me for ap- 
proval. 136 

8. Ratify the salary rates for the commanders and commissars of the 
camps: Ostashkov, Yukhnov, Kozelsk, Putivl, Kozelshchansk, and Staro- 
belsk at 2,400 rubles; Yuzha and Oranki, at 2,000 rubles. 137 

Establish salary rates for workers in the administration and POW 
camps at the level of current wages in the GULAG [administration] and 
GULAG camps. 138 

9. Assign to the NKVD GULAG the [task of] drawing up requisitions and 
[ensuring] the timely utilization of funds for the provision of food, materi- 
als, and medical supplies. 

Assign personal responsibility for provisioning the POW camps to my 
deputy divisional commander, Com. Chernyshov. 

10. Assign the financing of the UPV and the POW camps to the USSR 
NKVD Tsentralny Finansovo Planovy Otdel [TsFPO — Central Financial 
Planning Department]. 

Assign personal responsibility for the financing of the UPV and the pris- 
oner-of-war camps to USSR NKVD TsFPO Divisional Quartermaster 
Com. Berenzon. 

11. My deputy, Divisional Commander Com. Maslennikov, shall provide 
for the organization of security at the reception points, the convoying of 
POWs during their transport from reception points to camps according to 
the orders of the head of the UPV, and the organization of security for the 
POW camps, for which he shall allocate the necessary number of convoy 
force subunits, according to the attached list of distribution. * 

12. The head of the Kalinin Oblast UNKVD [NKVD Administration], 
Colonel Com. Tokarev; the head of the Smolensk Oblast UNKVD, GB Cap- 
tain Com. Kuprianov; the head of the Chernigov Oblast UNKVD, GB Cap- 
tain Com. Dmitriev; the head of the Poltava Oblast UNKVD, GB Captain 
Com. Bukhtiarov; the head of the Voroshilovgrad Oblast UNKVD, GB 

* List not found in file. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Captain Com. Cherevatenko; the head of the Ivanovo Oblast UNKVD, 
GB Captain Com. Blinov; and the head of the Gorky Oblast UNKVD, GB 
Major Com. Fediukov, in conjunction with the heads and commissars of 
the camps, shall: 

1) ensure in accordance with the mobilization plan of the Otdel Ispra- 
vitelno-Trudovykh Kolonii [OITK — Department of Correctional Labor 
Colonies] the development of the POW camps organized in accordance 
with point 7 of this order; 139 

2) following the typical staff contingent for camps ratified by this order, 
complete their personal contingent in accordance with the existing mobi- 
lization plan of the NKVD OITK; 

3) for the purpose of rendering assistance in starting up the POW 
camps, delegate for a period of ten days: 

To Kalinin Oblast, the deputy head of the GULAG Department, Com. 

To Smolensk Oblast, the deputy head of the GULAG, Brigade Commis- 
sar Com. Vasiliev 

To Ivanovo Oblast, the head of the USSR NKVD OITK, GB 1st Lieu- 
tenant Com. Yatskevich 

To Gorky Oblast, the deputy head of GULAG inspection, GB Lieu- 
tenant Com. Lobudev 

My deputy, GB Commissar 3rd Rank Com. Kruglov shall, within two 
days' time, complete the personnel assignments for the USSR NKVD UPV. 

USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 1st Rank L. Beria 

GB Captain Pyotr Soprunenko headed the NKVD UPV, which had 
specified duties. 

• 9 • 

Statute of the NKVD UPV 140 
Not before 19 September 1939, Moscow 

I approve 

People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, GB Commissar 1st I 
(L. Beria), September 1939 
Statute on [Establishing] the Administration 
for Prisoner-of-War Affairs under the NKVD, USSR 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


I. General Regulations 

1. The UPV forms a part of the USSR People's Commissariat of Internal 
Affairs as an independent administration. 

The head of the UPV is subordinated to the People's Commissar of In- 
ternal Affairs. 

The direct leadership of the UPV is carried out by Deputy People's Com- 
missar of Internal Affairs, Divisional Commander Com. Chernyshov. 

2. The head of the UPV heads the administration and directs its activi- 
ties in accordance with the decisions of the USSR government on POWs, 
current orders of the USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, and 
this statute. 

3. The USSR NKVD UPV directly controls the organization of the 
camps: placement, reception, registration, maintenance, and the utiliza- 
tion of POWs for work. It draws up regulations on reception points and 
POW camps and issues instructions and directives on camp maintenance 
and internal regulations in the camps. 

4. The head of the USSR NKVD UPV is responsible for the conditions at 
reception points and camps. He implements the day-to-day control of all 
the work of the administration and its organs in the territory. 

II. Tasks of the Administration 

The UPV is assigned the following tasks: 

1) organization of POW reception points, distribution camps, and per- 
manent camps in coordination with the RKKA [Worker-Peasant Red Army] 
General Staff. 

2) reception of POWs from the RKKA field command. 

3 ) timely evacuation of POWs from reception points to camps. 

4) establishment of internal order at reception points and camps as well 
as the rules and system for maintaining custody of the POWs. 

5 ) working out norms for providing POWs with housing space, cloth- 
ing, food, and other essential items and organizing the procedure for sup- 
plying these items. 

6) working out norms for a monetary allowance for POWs while they 
are in the camps. 141 

7) establishing limits for sums of money permitted to POWs while they 
are in the camps. 

8) establishing the norms for and the assortment of foods allowed to be 
sent to POWs. 

9) organizing the labor utilization of POWs in the industry and agricul- 
ture of the USSR according to the "Regulations on Prisoners of War." 142 

10) directing the political and cultural-educational work among POWs 
and developing the appropriate instructions. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

n) issuing regulations on the procedure for the imposition and imple- 
mentation of disciplinary punishment in accordance with the disciplinary 
and sentry regulations of the RKKA. 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 

The Osoboe Otdelenie [OO — Special Section], responsible for in- 
telligence work in each POW camp, was mandated to keep detailed 
records, to search for members of Polish prewar political parties, and 
to establish files for any such members as well as for all the officers. 
Document 10 shows the detailed recordkeeping mandated to the "Spe- 
cial Sections" in the POW camps; the search for members of Polish 
prewar political parties and other organizations; and the establish- 
ment of files for the above as well as for all the officers. 

• 10 • 

USSR NKVD Instruction to the Osoboe Otdelenia [Special Sections] 
of POW Camps on Recording Operational Data on the Prisoners 
19 September 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 

Instruction to Special Sections of Prisoner-of-War Camps of NKVD 
USSR on Recording Operational Data on Prisoners of War 

Records and Registration 

To create a unified system of operational records on prisoners of war, 
the following procedure has been established: 

1. For each prisoner of war, upon his arrival at the camp, the camp's 
Uchetno-Raspredelitelnoe Otdelenie Lagiera [URO — Reception, Records, 
and Barracks Assignment Section] immediately fills out and submits to the 
camp's OO [Special Section] a personal questionnaire and photograph 
(Enclosure no. 1) (Form no. 2).* 143 

z. For each prisoner of war, the [camp] OO fills out from the question- 
naires two alphabetical cards 144 (Enclosure no. 3) and opens a record 
file 145 (Enclosure no. 4). 

3 . The record file for the prisoner of war is to be entered into the regis- 

* None of the enclosures mentioned in this document were included with : 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


tration ledger (Enclosure no. 8), whose ordinal numeral is to be the num- 
ber of the record file. 

The personal questionnaire is to be inserted in the record file. 

4. The number of the record file is to be entered on the alphabetical 
cards, after which one card is to be inserted into the files of the [camp] OO 
and the second copy is to be sent to the corresponding 1st Spetsotdel [Spe- 
cial Department] of the NKVD-UNKVD in whose territory the camp is lo- 

On the cover of the record file a note shall be made as to when and 
where the index cards were sent and the outgoing number. 

The work on records in each camp shall be conducted personally by a 
worker especially assigned to this task (in large camps, an operational 
records group). 

On the Procedure for Opening Agent and Investigation Files 
on Prisoners of War Present in the Camps 

5. Files are to be established for POWs conducting anti-Soviet work, sus- 
pected of espionage activity, and those belonging to the PPS [Polish So- 
cialist Party], "Pilsudski-ites," National Democrats, Social Democrats, 
anarchists, and other c-r parties and organizations, 146 as well as the entire 
officer contingent, and these files are to be registered in a separate ledger 
(Enclosure no. 6). 

For each document-form created, [such as] an intelligence file or inves- 
tigative file, one copy of the form (Enclosure, Form no. 1 ) is to be filled out 
and sent to the 1st Spetsotdel of the USSR NKVD in order [for the infor- 
mation] on anti-Soviet elements be reflected in the records. 

6. Arrest formalities are to be implemented in conformity with USSR 
NKVD Order no. 00931 of 11 August 1939 147 and in accordance with 
the special recommendations of the USSR NKVD. 

[Agent] Recruitment Formalities 

7. The formalities connected with the recruitment of POWs in the 
camps are to be effected in accordance with USSR NKVD Order no. 
00858 of 28 June 1939. 148 

Transmitting Prisoner-of-War Record Files 

8. In case of the departure of POWs for other camps, their records and 
files, as well as the personal files of agents (informants) are to be sent by 
the [camp] OO to the NKVD organ [regional administration] at the place 
of departure of the POWs, and the appropriate notations are to be made 
[there] on the cards and in the ledgers. 

9. For POWs released from the camps, files are to be sent to the appro- 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

priate ist Spetsotdel of the NKVD (UNKVD), and notations are to be 
made in the card files. 

Control over the organization of operational records for POWs in 
camps is assigned to the heads of the Special Departments of the NKVD 
military districts on whose territory the camps are located. 

10. On the first of each month, the OO carrying out the operational ser- 
vicing of the camp [shall] submit an operational report to the [regional] 
USSR NKVD Spetsotdel and a copy to the ist Spetsotdel of the USSR 
NKVD concerning the following items: 

a) the number of prisoners of war held in the camp and, of these, the of- 
ficer contingent, gendarmes, and workers in state security departments; 

b) the number of files established, the identifications made by agents, 
the number of recruited agents and informants, the number arrested 
(showing what they were arrested for and what they admit to). 149 

11. Responsibility for supplying all the essential record materials is as- 
signed to the head of the appropriate NKVD UNKVD on whose territory 
the camp is located. 

12. Upon the liquidation of the OOs in NKVD prisoner-of-war camps, 
all utilized agent-operations and records materials shall be transmitted 
with a protocol for safekeeping to the ist Spetsotdel of the regional NKVD 

Head of the ist Special Department of the USSR NKVD 
GB Captain (Petrov) 

Deputy Head of the Special Department of the USSR NKVD 
GB Major (Belianov) 

The problems in the Stanislavov [Stanislawow] region were com- 
mon to all former Polish territories occupied by the Red Army. 

• 11 • 

Report of the USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Army Commander 
ist Rank Grigory Kulik, on the Actions of Red Army Units and Formations 
in Western Ukraine and the Political and Economic Situation in the Region 
2i September 1939, Stanislavov [Stanislawow] 

Top Secret 

[For] Moscow. To Comrades Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov 

1. When the Red Army went on the offensive, the Polish Army was so 
demoralized that it offered almost no resistance, with the exception of mi- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


nor isolated instances of resistance by border forces, 150 the Osadniki [mil- 
itary settlers], 151 and retreating units under the leadership of the high 

z. A great many rank-and-file soldiers and officers were captured. Some 
of the captured prisoners could be sent by rail from Stanislavov to Gusi- 
atin [Husiatyh]. However, a large number of prisoners managed to dis- 
perse to their homes because the Dirt-Road Sector [military road service 
unit] was not ready [to move the prisoners]; 152 there was nothing to feed 
them with; and in general we proved unprepared to receive such a large 
number of captives. It is mainly the officers who are being selected [to be 
held]. Political work is being done among the prisoners. I think that a gov- 
ernment instruction on allowing Belorussians and Ukrainians to go home, 
after they have been registered, is essential since there is nothing to feed 
them and convoys require large numbers of men. 

3. The movement of units during the first two days (17-18 September) 
was made very difficult by heavy rains so the roads were muddy and 
clogged with trucks. Conditions proved especially difficult for the left 
wing of the motorized corps of Com. [Ivan V.] Tiulenev's group, who on 
17 September had to cross the Zbruch [Zbrucz] River after a heavy down- 
pour and on 18 September had to force the crossing of the Dnestr 
[Dniestr] River under constant rain. However, through joint efforts and by 
individuals pushing through traffic jams, a rate of advance was achieved 
of 50-60 kilometers for every twenty-four-hour period. The rate of ad- 
vance ordered by the command of the Ukrainian Front was not sustained 
because of the rain. The infantry had been put in motor vehicles, but the 
civilian drivers proved unprepared to operate motor vehicles, and the 
commanders are incapable of maintaining order or eliminating the traffic 
jams that formed during the advance. 

4. The overwhelming mass of the population greeted the Red Army 
with enthusiasm. However, in the large towns, especially Stanislavov, the 
intelligentsia and merchants greeted it with restraint. 153 

5. In the town of Zaleshchiki [Zaleszczyki] near the Romanian border, 
a bank holding some securities and paper money that had not been re- 
moved was seized. Also seized there was a bus with money that was at- 
tempting to cross into Romania. 154 The command organized a guard for 
the bank and the transfer of the valuables to Stanislavov because this town 
[Zaleshchiki] is located right on the Romanian border, and the garrison 
remaining there is weak. 

6. Our men assigned to organize local authorities in the territory, after 
its capture by the RKKA, are not keeping up with the tempo of [army] 
movement, and often, in larger towns and cities, authorities are organized 
one to two days after the arrival of the troops, which undermines our au- 
thority and dampens the population's enthusiasm. 155 Instructions are 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

needed from the TsK of the KP(b)U [Communist Party (Bolshevik) of 
Ukraine] regarding a faster rate of progress for these people and the orga- 
nization of local authorities. In the major towns, our comrades who have 
been assigned to them need to be reinforced by the [state] apparatus. 

7. The rail network and the bridges remained undamaged due to our 
swift movement, with the exception of damage to a few small bridges. An 
apparatus is needed from the NKPS [People's Commissariat of Communi- 
cations] to organize transport for the purpose of supplying the Red Army 
with food and for provisioning the towns. In particular, we must acceler- 
ate shipping to the towns goods in very short supply: sugar, salt, matches, 
tea, kerosene. 156 

8. Because of the rapid rate of our advance, the region is not under our 
control. The Polish Army has thrown away its weapons and scattered to 
the villages. In Com. Tiulenev's area of operations, it is necessary to send 
an additional strong NKVD operational group because along the Roma- 
nian and Hungarian borders scattered bands will undoubtedly be operat- 
ing and carrying out provocative diversionary actions against the Red 
Army and demoralizing the local population. If the cleanup of this area is 
not accelerated, partisan actions could begin. A great many bourgeois and 
landowner refugees have gathered in Stanislavov, where they are cut off 
from the Romanian border. [They wanted to flee to Romania.] It is essen- 
tial to organize a cleanup of this town from the influx of this gang as 
quickly as possible. 

9. We must also resolve the question of our ruble; zlotys here have a 
higher value than our rubles. In future, our industrial products must obvi- 
ously be sold in line with local prices. 

10. We must resolve the issue of the local militia and its wages. 

11. In the landowners' estates, grain has been left unthreshed in ricks 
and a large number of livestock have been left behind as well. On these es- 
tates there are also sugar refineries and alcohol distilleries, whose workers 
have run away. There have been attempts to loot the landowners' es- 
tates. 157 On this issue, too, urgent instructions are needed. I personally 
think that the landowners' grain can be used to feed the towns and the Red 

12. Local schools have been conducting lessons in Polish, and the Ukrai- 
nian language has been taught only partially. On this issue there are no in- 
structions as to how the schools should continue to operate. 158 

13. Publishing newspapers and supplying them to the population is an 
acute problem. The people have for their use only the oral agitation of [So- 
viet] political workers, commanders, and soldiers. Above all, we need to 
provide for the publication of Ukrainian newspapers, [but] for this we 
need personnel. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


14. Before it fled, the Polish government paid the higher officials their 
salaries seven months in advance, but the workers have not received their 
salaries for four months. What are we to do about this matter? Evidently 
workers will have to be paid their salaries; [we will] square accounts with 
each one on the spot. 

15. More literature must be sent in Ukrainian, Belorussian, and He- 
brew. 159 

16. In connection with the great national oppression inflicted by the 
Poles on the Ukrainians, their cup of suffering is overflowing, and in iso- 
lated instances there have been fights between Ukrainians and Poles, and 
there are even threats to slaughter the Poles. 160 The government must im- 
mediately issue an address to the population because this could turn into a 
major political factor. 


Transmitted by Major Shtemenko 

Received by Duty Officer Major Postnikov 
[Handwritten:] 1st Section. For the file. N. Vatutin. 24 September 1939. 
Directives file. Sent to Army and RKKA General Staff. 

On 27-28 September 1939, German-Soviet negotiations took place 
in Moscow, resulting in the conclusion of a treaty. This established a 
new border between the two powers on former Polish territory, thus 
excluding the possible establishment of a rump Polish state. Ribben- 
trop came to Moscow to sign the treaty with Molotov. 

• 12 • 

German-Soviet Treaty on Friendship and the Border 
between the USSR and Germany 
28 September 1939, Moscow 

The Government of the USSR and the German Government consider it 
exclusively their task, after the collapse of the former Polish state, to re- 
store peace and order in this territory and secure for the peoples living 
there a peaceful existence suited to their national characteristics. With this 
goal in mind, they have come to an agreement on the following. 

Article I 

The Government of the USSR and the German Government hereby estab- 
lish as the border between their mutual state interests on the territory of 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

the former Polish state the line that has been drawn on the map attached 
herewith and that will be described in greater detail in a supplementary 
protocol. 161 

Article II 

Both parties recognize the border between their mutual state interests, es- 
tablished in Article I, as final and will reject any interference by third pow- 
ers in this decision. 

Article III 

The necessary state restructuring on the territory to the west of the line 
specified in Article I shall be carried out by the German Government [and] 
on the territory to the east of this line by the Government of the USSR. 

Article IV 

The Government of the USSR and the German Government consider the 
above-mentioned restructuring to be a sound foundation for the further 
development of friendly relations between their peoples. 

Article V 

This treaty is subject to ratification. The exchange of ratification docu- 
ments should take place as soon as possible in Berlin. 162 

The treaty comes into effect immediately upon signing. 

Drawn up in two originals, in the German and Russian languages. 

By authorization For the Government 

of the Government of the USSR of Germany 

V. Molotov I[J]. Ribbentrop 
Moscow, 28 September 1939 

In a Secret Supplementary Protocol to the Treaty of 28 September 
1939, Stalin ceded to Germany part of the Polish territory awarded to 
the USSR by the Secret Protocol of 23 August 1939 in return for Ger- 
man recognition of predominant Soviet interest in most of Lithuania 
(see map 3). 

Subsequently, on 10 October 1939 the USSR and Lithuania signed a 
mutual assistance pact allowing Soviet troops to be stationed on 
Lithuanian territory and ceding Vilnius and its region to Lithuania. 
The USSR signed similar pacts with Latvia and Estonia. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 13a • 


Secret Supplementary Protocol to the German-Soviet Treaty on Friendship 
and the Border between the USSR and Germany [Identifying 
Spheres of Interest and Affirming Agreements] 
28 September 1939, Moscow 

The undersigned plenipotentiaries declare the agreement of the German 
Government and the Government of the USSR to the following: 

The Secret Supplementary Protocol, signed on 23 August 1939, 163 shall 
be amended in part 1 in such a way that the territories of the Lithuanian 
state are included in the sphere of interests of the USSR, while, on the 
other hand, the Lublin voevodship [province] and parts of the Warsaw 
voevodship are included in the sphere of influence of Germany (see map to 
the Treaty on Friendship and Borders between the USSR and Germany 
signed today). As soon as the Government of the USSR takes special mea- 
sures on Lithuanian territories to protect its interests, the [present] Ger- 
man-Lithuanian border shall be, for the purpose of establishing a natural 
and simple boundary, rectified in such a way that the Lithuanian territory 
lying to the southwest of the line shown on the map falls to Germany. 164 

Further, it is established that the economic agreements now in force be- 
tween Germany and Lithuania shall not be affected by measures taken by 
the Soviet Union as indicated above. 

As Plenipotentiary of the For the Government of Germany 

Government of the USSR 

V. Molotov I[J]. Ribbentrop 

2 8 September 1939 28 September 1939 

• 13b • 

Secret Supplementary Protocol to the German-Soviet Treaty on 
Friendship and the Border between the USSR and Germany 
[Establishing Cooperation against Polish Resistance] 
28 September 1939, Moscow 

In concluding the Soviet-German Border and Friendship Treaty, the un- 
dersigned plenipotentiaries stated their agreement to the following: 

Neither party will allow on its territory any Polish agitation that affects 
the territory of the other country. Both shall liquidate such agitation on 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

in embryo and shall inform each other about expedie 

measures to accomplish this." 

By authorization of the 
Government of the USSR 
V. Molotov 

Moscow, 28 September 1939 

For the Government 
of Germany 
I[J]. Ribbentrop 
28 September 1939 166 

A Politburo decision of 3 October 1939 on prisoners of war estab- 
lished a special camp for Polish higher officers and higher state offi- 
cials and another special camp for intelligence and counterintelligence 
officials, gendarmes, jail guards, and police. 

• 14 • 

Excerpt from a Politburo Protocol: Decision on Prisoners of War 
[2-3] October 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 
From a special folder 
TsK VKP(b) [Central Committee, Ail-Union 
Communist Party (Bolshevik)] 
No. P7/260 

To Comrades Beria, Voroshilov, Mekhlis and Molotov — everything 
To Pomaznev — 7 and 9 
To Khokhlov — 9 
Decision of 2 October 1939 
260. — On Prisoners of War 167 

(Politburo, 1 October 1939, Minutes no. 7, point 252, subpoint 32) 
Approve the following proposals of Comrades Beria and Mekhlis: 168 

1. Prisoners of war, soldiers of Ukrainian, Belorussian, and other na- 
tionalities whose homeland is in the territory of Western Ukraine and West- 
ern Belorussia shall be released to go home. 

2. For the construction of the Novograd Volynsky-Korets-Lvov [No- 
wogrod Wolynski-Korzec-Lwow] road, leave 25,000 POWs up to the 
end of December (end of the first phase of construction). 169 

3. Place into a separate group prisoner-of-war soldiers whose homeland 
is in the German part of Poland and hold them in camps until negotiations 
[take place] with the Germans and a decision is made on sending them 
back to their homeland. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


4. Organize a separate camp for prisoner-of-war officers. Hold officers 
from the rank of lieutenant colonel to general inclusive, as well as promi- 
nent state and military officials, separate from the rest of the officer cadre. 

5. Hold intelligence agents, counterintelligence agents, gendarmes, 
prison guards, and police in a separate camp. 

6. Release the approximately 800 captured Czechs after obtaining from 
each of them a signed statement saying that they will not fight against the 
USSR. 170 

7. Require the Ekonomsovet [Council for Economic Affairs] to allocate 
to the UPV twenty portable film projectors and five field printing presses 
to serve the POWs. 

8. Establish for prisoner-of-war officers a somewhat better food ration 
than for soldiers. 

9. Require Tsentrosoiuz [Central Union of Consumer Societies] to orga- 
nize kiosks in the camps for selling food and manufactured goods. 

10. All POWs, both officers and soldiers, are required to surrender all 
valuables, as well as money over and above the norm established by the 
UPV, to the camp administration for safekeeping in exchange for a receipt. 

11. Distribute POWs to the following camps: 

a) place generals, lieutenant colonels, prominent military and state offi- 
cials, and all other officers in the south (in Starobelsk); 

b) place intelligence agents, counterintelligence agents, gendarmes, po- 
lice, and prison guards in Ostashkov camp, Kalinin Oblast; 

c) hold captured soldiers whose homeland is in the German part of 
Poland in Kozelsk camp, 171 Smolensk Oblast, and Putivl camp, Sumy 

TsK Secretary 

An estimated 1,000-2,500 Polish civilians were killed in former 
eastern Poland in September 1939. Some of them, as well as 200-300 
Polish military, were sentenced by Military Tribunals. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 15 ■ 

in Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia 
3 October 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 
Special folder 
From 3 October 1939 
270. — On the Procedure to Ratify the Sentences of Military Tribunals 
in Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia 

Entrust the Military Councils of the Ukrainian and Belorussian Fronts 
with the right to ratify the sentences of tribunals for the maximum pun- 
ishment for counterrevolutionary [c-r] crimes by civilians of Western 
Ukraine and Western Belorussia and military personnel of the former Pol- 
ish Army. 172 

Secretary of the VKP(b) TsK 
I[J]. Stalin 
Extracts sent to: 

Corns. Kalinen, Voroshilov, Ulrikh, Mekhlis, Beria, Goliakov, Pankratev 

Beria's directive on Operational-Cheka [Intelligence] Work among 
the POWs lists Polish and non-Polish organizations and parties re- 
garded as especially hostile to the USSR. The objectives were to ferret 
out members for special investigation and perhaps arrest them; to re- 
cruit agents and confidants from among the POWs; to find intelligence 
officers; and to report on prisoners' moods. 

• 16 • 

Beria's Directive on Operational-Cheka Work among POWs in NKVD Camps 
8 October 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 

The OOs [Special Sections] of Ostashkov, Yukhnov, Kozelsk, Putivl, 
Kozelshchansk, Starobelsk, Yuzha, and Oranki USSR NKVD camps, cre- 
ated in accordance with USSR NKVD Order no. 0308 of 19 September 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

1939, 173 are assigned the following tasks for Operational-Cheka work 
among POWs: 

The creation of an agency-informational network to uncover c-r group- 
ings among the POWs and to shed light on their moods. 

In so doing, bear in mind the necessity of creating two categories of 

1. [Secret] agencies that, while outwardly maintaining the position of 
continuing the fight for the "restoration" of Poland, must infiltrate all 
anti-Soviet groups that form among the POWs, chiefly among former 
members of Polish c-r political parties, officers, and military officials. 

z. [Secret] agencies with the task of shedding light on the political 
moods of the POWs — those belonging to the same [military] unit and 
those from the same area of residence. 

In creating a network of [secret] agencies, make extensive use of the reg- 
istration of POWs arriving in the camps, in the process of which opera- 
tional workers from the OOs should do everything possible to familiarize 
themselves with the POWs being registered and select from among them 
those who are suitable candidates for recruitment. 

Assign to the agencies the task of uncovering and penetrating the follow- 
ing contingents: 

a) individuals who served in the intelligence, police, and security organs 
of former Poland — branch agencies, intelligence posts, state security de- 
partments in the voevodships [provinces], police stations, intelligence sec- 
tions attached to military units, intelligence sections attached to "Dovud- 
stvo Okrengovo Korpusnove" [District Corps Commands] 174 — prison 
employees, and those serving in KOP [Polish Frontier Protection Corps] 

b) [secret] agencies of the organs listed above (informants, intelligence 

c) participants in fascist military and nationalistic organizations of for- 
mer Poland (POV [P.O. W— Polish Military Organization], PPS [Polish 
Socialist Party], Osadniki [Polish Military Settlers], Streltsy [Strzelcy — Rifle- 
men's Association], Legion Mladykh [Legion Mlodych — Legion of Youth], 
Biskupa Kubina [Bishop Teodor Kubina's Organization], Soiuz Unter- 
ofitserov [Noncommissioned Officers' Union], Soiuz Ofitserov [Officers' 
Union], Soiuz Advokatov [Attorneys' Union], Komitet Zashchity Krestow 
[Komitet Obrony Krzyzow — Committee for the Defense of Crosses], Be- 
lorussky Natsionalny Komitet [Belorussian National Committee], and 
Sionisty [Zionists]) 175 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

d) employees of law courts and the prosecutor's office 

e) [secret] agencies of other foreign intelligence services 

f ) participants in foreign White emigre terrorist organizations (ROVS 
[Rossiiskii Obshchevoiskovoi Soiuz — Russian All-Military Union], BRP 
[Bratstvo Russkoi Pravdy — Brotherhood of Russian Truth], NTSNP 
[Natsionalny Trudvoi Soiuz Novogo Pokolenia — National Labor Union 
of the New Generation], Zeleny Dub [Green Oak], Savinkovtsy [Savin- 
kovites], Soiuz Russkoi Molodzezhi [Union of Russian Youth], Soiuz 
Byvshykh Voennikh [Union of Former Military Men], Soiuz Povstantsev 
Volyni [Union of Volyn Insurgents], Komitet Pomoshchi Russkim Emi- 
grantam [Aid Committee for Russian Emigres], UNDO [Ukrainskoe 
Natsionalno-Demokraticheskoe Obiedinenie — Ukrainian National-Dem- 
ocratic Union], OUN [Orhanizatsiia Ukrainskykh Natsionalistiv — Or- 
ganization of Ukrainian Nationalists], Komissia dlia Rossii [Commission 
for Russia]) 

g) provocateurs from the former tsarist secret police, and persons who 
served in the police and prison institutions of pre-revolutionary Russia 

h) provocateurs from the secret police in the fraternal communist par- 
ties of Poland, Western Ukraine, and Belorussia 176 

i) kulak and anti-Soviet elements who fled to the former Poland from 
the USSR 

Assign to the agency the additional task of uncovering and preventing 
both group and individual escapes of POWs from the camps. 


Immediately enter the entire exposed c-r element into the operational 
data, open agency files on them, and secure the uncovering both of orga- 
nized c-r formations among POWs inside the camp and of the foreign ties 
of those who are being investigated. 


Make arrests of POWs on the basis of materials obtained by the agency, 
with the sanction of the head of the Special Department and the military 
prosecutor of the corresponding military district [okrug]. 


Investigation into the affairs of c-r groups and individuals — spies, sabo- 
teurs, terrorists, and conspirators — is, as a rule, to be conducted by the 
Special Departments of the corresponding military districts. 177 

The camp Special Sections shall conduct investigations only into cases 
of violations of camp regulations, as well as instances requiring immediate 
investigation (an attempt to escape from the camp, hooliganism, theft, 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


etc.), and will subsequently transfer documents to the district military 

Investigation into prisoner-of-war matters shall be conducted in strict 
compliance with existing criminal and procedural regulations. 


The Special Departments of military districts [are to] conduct investiga- 
tions to reveal the anti-Soviet connections of arrested POWs and individ- 
uals who could be used for drops across the cordon [border with German 

The recruitment of agents to be dropped across the border is to be made 
only with the advance sanction of the head of the USSR NKVD Special 
Department, and the drop across the border [can be made] only with the 
sanction of the USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs [Beria]. 178 


For the purpose of the timely exposure and prevention of the possible uti- 
lization by POWs of individuals among the camp service personnel for 
criminal purposes (transmission of messages and letters, bribery for the 
purpose of escape), the camp Special Sections shall, alongside the political 
instruction and political work carried out by the camp administration and 
political apparatus, ensure agency security for the supervisory and convoy 
staff of the camp and the populated areas surrounding the camp. 

The heads of the camp Special Sections [are to] inform the camp commander 
on the basis of all the materials in their possession about the moods of the 
POWs, instances of violations of camp regulations, and crimes uncovered 
(including c-r crimes), and coordinate arrests of the POWs with him. 


The heads of the camp Special Sections [are to] subordinate themselves in 
their Cheka operations to the heads of the Special Departments of the cor- 
responding military districts, the people's commissars of internal affairs of 
union and autonomous republics, and the heads of the NKVD adminis- 
trations for their territory. 

USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
(L. Beria) 

Verified as accurate: 

Deputy Head of the USSR NKVD Special Department 
GB Major Belianov 


NKVD UPV Information on the Number of POWs Subject to Release 
and Those Remaining in the Camps as of 8 October 1939 179 
8 October 1939, Moscow 

Prisoners of War by Category 


Generals, Gendarmerie, 


Prison Guards, 









Subject to 


Participants it 



Camp Name 

(for Starobelsk) 

(for Ostashkov) 

to Release * 

Release 180 

in Camps 

the War 






















2,5 93 













































9. Ostashkov 184 

10. Yuzha 801 
Total All camps 5,139 
Total AtUkSSR 2,171 

and BSSR 

Total All camps 7,310 
and reception 

Sent to Construction Site no. 1-23, 681 181 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major Soprunenko+ 

* The Polish edition has an extra set of figures in this column — soldiers subject to release — not printed in the Russian edition; see KDZi, p. 156. 
t The Polish edition also shows the signature of the UPV head, Nekhoroshev; see KDZi, p. 1 56. 




— 9,131 

149 11,634 

1,717 72,446 

9 18,181 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 18 • 

Beria's Memorandum to Molotov on Sending Home Polish Soldier POWs, 
Residents of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine, and Delivering to the 
German Authorities POWs Who Are Residents of German Poland 182 
ii October 1939, Moscow 8 ' 

No. 4584/B 
Top Secret 


To Comrade Molotov. 

In accordance with the decision of the VKP(b) TsK and the SNK USSR 
on POWs, 183 the USSR NKVD has completed the work of selecting POWs 
who are residents of Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, and their 
dispatch to their homeland began on 10 October. Their departure will be 
finalized on 18 October. 

After the dispatch of these POWs, out of the rank-and-file contingent in 
the camps about 33,000 soldier prisoners of war will remain who are res- 
idents of territories of former Poland now part of Germany, primarily 

The USSR NKVD considers it expedient to ratify the following propos- 
als of Com. Beria: that all soldier POWs who are residents of the German 
portion of the former Poland, numbering about 33,000 people, be handed 
over in the near future to German authorities, for which purpose negotia- 
tions should begin with the government of Germany." 1 " 

The transfer of POWs shall be carried out directly on the border at these 

a) Terespol — sending echelons via Zhitkovichi [Zytkowice], Luninets 
[tuniniec], and Pinsk [Pihsk], and 

b) Dorogusk [Dorohusk] — sending echelons via Olevsk [Olewsk], Sarny, 
and Kovel [Kowel]. 

* Handwritten across the top part of the first page: "Za [For] Molotov, K. Voroshilov, 

Above the words "To Com. Molotov" are the following names written one beneath the 
other, probabl in ic ban t St 1 ci a uy: "Com. Mikoyan, Com. [Andrei] Andreev, 
Com. Kaganovich, Com. Zhdanov, Com. Kalinin." 

In the margin of the first page: "O. P. [Special file]. NKVD matter." 

On the lower portion of the second page: "Extracts to Beria, Molotov, and L. M. 
Kaganovich." Below that: "Protocol 8/61 of 13 October 1939." 

Stamp of the VKP(b) TsK Secretariat in the upper left-hand corner of the first page; under 
it: "11 October 1939 No. 4584/5." 

t The italicized phrases were underlined in red pencil by Stalin. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


Both these routes have been chosen in consultation with the NKPS in 
order to avoid the overburdened Bobruisk and Lvov railway junctions. 

c) Coordinated with the NKPS dispatch the echelons in the period be- 
tween 23 October and 3 November.'' 

The USSR NKVD requests your recommendations. 184 

USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
L. Beria 

Some of the rank-and-file POWs were sent to work in the mines run 
by the Narkomchermet [NKChM — Commissariat of Ferrous Metal- 
lurgy]. The specifications for feeding, clothing, and ensuring services 
for the prisoners were not observed in practice, which led to much dis- 
content and even refusal to work. 

• 19 • 

Agreement between the NKVD UPV and the Narkomchermet oi 
14 October 1939, Moscow 185 


Protocol of the Agreement between the USSR NKVD UPV 
and the USSR NKChM on the Labor Placement 
of 10,000-11,000 Prisoners of War 


The specified number of POWs shall be distributed to the following 

1. In the "Glavneruda" system — in the Yelenovka Ore Administration, 
Yelenovka Station, Southern Donetsk Railway — 900 people 

In the Karakub Ore Administration, Kuteinikovo Station, Southern 
Donetsk Railway — 900 people 

A camp shall be created out of two camp sections with the center in 
Karakuba and a camp section in Yelenovka. 

2. In the "Glavruda" system — in the "Dzerzhinskruda Trust" in the 
Krivoy Rog iron ore basin, Mudrenaia Station, Stalin Railway, with em- 

* Crossed out by Stalin in red pencil. The first struck-out sentence refers to point 2b (origi- 
nally c) of the 1111 1 II i I Is as a Politburo 
decision on 13 October. Stalin's secretary probably drew up the decision of the Politburo 
based on the text of Beria 's memorandum; see KDj/52. For other changes in the original 
text, seeKDi/52, notes on p. 144; KDZ1/52, notes on pp. 160,162. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

ployment in Pervomaiskaia, "Kommunard," and "Ilich" mines — 1,700 

To the Karnavatka Station, Stalin Railway, for work in the Kirov and 
Yuzhna mines — 700 people 

For the "Oktiabrruda Trust," Vecherny Kut Station, Stalin Railway, 
with employment in the "Komintern," "Frunze," "Krasny Gorniak," and 
"Bolshevik" mines — 1,600 people 

The "Leninruda Trust," Kalachevskaia Station, Stalin Railway, with 
employment in the "Kaganovich," "Shilman," "Roza," and "Krasny Gor- 
niak" mines — 1,700 people 

The "Nikopol-Marganets Trust," Marganets Station, Stalin Railway — 
750 people 

Zaporozhstal — 2,000 people 

1. Prisoners of war are utilized to work at the decision of Narkomcher- 
met 186 

2. Prisoners of war are transported at the expense of Narkomchermet. 

1. Narkomchermet shall supply the entire contingent of POWs with the 
necessary special clothing of appropriate quality in accordance with 
VTsSPS [All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions] standards and at its 
own expense. 

2. In the event of carrying out hazardous jobs, Narkomchermet, at its 
own expense, shall provide the POWs with the necessary additional spe- 
cial clothing and special food in accordance with the standards established 
for free hired workers. 

3 . It is the duty of Narkomchermet to organize the feeding of the POWs, 
the first month of feeding being gratuitous according to the norms en- 
closed,* and, subsequently, for payment on the usual terms. 187 

4. The entire contingent of POWs shall be employed primarily in piece- 
work and paid beginning with the second month in accordance with cur- 
rent norms, rates, and assessments, on an equal footing with free hired 
workers of the given enterprise. 

5. It is the duty of Narkomchermet to provide all the essential condi- 
tions regarding safety techniques. 

In the event of injury, both criminal and financial responsibility shall be 
borne by the enterprises of Narkomchermet. 

6. Narkomchermet must provide gratuitously, at its own expense, the 
appropriate equipment and heated buildings and the necessary quantity of 
bedding for the housing of the entire contingent of POWs, as well as for 
their guard. 

* Missing from the file. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

7. Narkomchermet shall provide at its own expense and through its 
own efforts regular health checkups for POWs (at least once every ten 
days). 188 

8. Narkomchermet shall, every month, cover all the expenses connected 
with the guard and apparatus [bureaucracy] of the camp, according to the 
actual cost. 

USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
Divisional Commander (Chernyshov) 

USSR People's Commissar of Ferrous Metallurgy 

The prisoners were not allowed to write or receive letters, which was 
against International Red Cross (IRC) regulations on the treatment of 
POWs and even those established by Beria himself. The prisoners de- 
manded the right to correspond with their families, as shown by the 
petition below. They were finally allowed limited correspondence 
rights in late November-early December 1939. 

• 20 • 

Petition by Lieutenant Colonel T. Petrazycki to Starobelsk Camp Commander 
Aleksandr Berezhkov Regarding POW Correspondence with Families 
15 October 1939, Starobelsk 

To the Citizen Commander of the Prisoner-of-War Camp at Starobelsk 

I request permission to enter into contact with the USSR Red Cross or 
the UkSSR Red Cross [for] the purpose of implementing the resolution of 
the International Treaty of the Red Cross, in particular [for] the purpose 
of jointly organizing correspondence between POWs and their fami- 
lies. 189 

Member of the Central Administration of the Polish Red Cross 
Petrazycki Tadeusz 
Retired Colonel, Lawyer 

General Franciszek Sikorski's letter provides information on the 
terms of General Wladyslaw Langner's surrender of Lwow to Army 
Commander Semyon Timoshenko, as well as the violation of those 
terms and the problems and requests of the officers imprisoned in 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 21 • 

Letter from Polish General Franciszek Sikorski to Army Commander 
Semyon K. Timoshenko on the Illegal Holding of Polish Lvov 
[Lwow, Lviv] Defenders in a Camp 190 
20 October 1939, * Stai 

The Commander of the Troops for the Defense of Lvov, Brigadier General 

To the Commander of the Ukrainian Front, Army Commander 1st Rank 

I have the honor of informing you that General Langner, before his de- 
parture for Moscow, conveyed to me the content of his conversation with 
you. 191 Hence I know that you fully understood the essence of our deci- 
sion — that is, that we, despite possessing written proposals from the Ger- 
man command with conditions of capitulation most advantageous to us, 
did not yield either to their attacks or to their threats of a final assault by 
four divisions accompanied by heavy bombardment of the city. 

It was perfectly clear to you that we, beyond the shadow of a doubt, en- 
tered decisively into negotiations with representatives of the state in 
which, in contrast to Germany, the principles of justice toward nations 
and individuals are binding, although we did not have as yet any concrete 
offers from the Red [Army] command. 192 

You could convince yourself that we fulfilled to the utmost our soldierly 
duty to fight the German aggressor and that at that time, and in the ap- 
propriate manner, we executed the order of the Polish Supreme Command 
not to consider the Red Army a belligerent party. 193 

You demonstrated your just assessment by confirming the agreement 
concluded regarding our capitulation. 194 

In connection with this, I consider it my duty to present to you our real 
present-day situation. 

I am in Starobelsk, where all the officers were sent who, according to 
the order of the Polish Supreme Command, surrendered their weapons to 
the Red Army not only in Lvov but also in the remaining portions of the 
territory to which your power extended as the commander of the Ukrai- 
nian Front. 

I am well aware that at the present time you face many important prob- 
lems and therefore our problem is one of many for you. For this reason I 
do not want to submit any claims regarding various shortcomings that 
have occurred. 

* Date of registration in the Secretariat of the USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Nevertheless, I take the liberty of directing your attention to the follow- 
ing points: 

1. The delay in releasing us has put all of us and our families in an ex- 
tremely difficult position, although Soviet authorities are going to great 
lengths to alleviate our living conditions. 

2. Moving our place of registration and [future] release more than 
1,000 kilometers to the east has complicated the issue of our return to our 
places of permanent residence and has completely excluded the possibility 
of direct contact with our families. 

3. Our sojourn in Starobelsk and the restrictions on our personal free- 
dom, even in this place, are an extremely difficult experience for us. 

In connection with the above, and since we have not been released as 
yet, although General Langner made a special trip to Moscow regarding 
this matter, 195 I ask you to take all possible measures to speed our re- 
lease. 196 

In conclusion, I wish to assure you that I am addressing you directly be- 
cause the capitulation agreement was concluded through your authorized 

F. Sikorski 

Brigadier General [signature in Polish] 

The Soviet leadership decided that the NKVD was to detain certain 
categories of prisoners in its POW camps. 

• 22 • 

NKVD UPV Instruction to the Head of Putivl Camp on Detaining POWs 
with Various Sr 

23 October 1939, Moscow 

No. 2066468 
Top Secret 
To No. 79 of 20 October 1939 

To the Commander of the Putivl NKVD Prisoner-of-War Camp 
Com. Major Smirnov 

As a supplement to No. 14028, we clarify that professors, journalists, 
physicians, artists, and other specialists being detained in the Putivl camp, 
who served in the Polish Army as officers, as well as intelligence agents, 
counterintelligence agents, gendarmes, police, provocateurs, prominent 
military and state officials, secret agents of the police and the counterin- 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

telligence, active figures in anti-Soviet political parties and organizations, 
landowners, and princes — both residents of the territories of Western 
Ukraine and Western Belorussia and residents of territory now part of 
Germany — that are discovered among the specialists are subject to de- 
tainment in the camp. 197 

The remaining specialists who are residents of the territories of Western 
Ukraine and Western Belorussia are subject to dispatch to their homeland 
in the usual manner, and those who are residents of territory that has gone 
to Germany must be sent off together with the rank and file and NCOs 
who are subject to being handed over to German authorities. 198 

In the event of the categorical refusal of any of the specialists to go to the 
territory now part of Germany, they should be reported to the UPV, to- 
gether with detailed information on these specialists and the reasons for 
their refusal. 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major (Soprunenko) 

Head of the 2nd Section of the Administration 
GB Lieutenant (Makliarsky) 

Some Polish POWs, former residents of territory that had gone to 
Germany — especially Jews — did not want to return there, but their 
objections were generally overruled. 

• 23 • 

NKVD UPV Report to Beria on the Refusal of Some POWs 
to Travel to German Poland 
28 October 1939, Moscow 

No. 2066678* 
Top Secret 

To the USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 1st Rank 
Comrade L. P. Beria 

According to reports from the commanders of camps and reception 
points, there have been instances of POWs refusing to proceed to territory 
gone to Germany. 

* Handwritten note in the top left-hand margin, in red pencil: "Comrade Soprunenko. I am 
returning your note. You already have your instructions. Chernyshov." 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


Among those refusing are many Jews. 
Reasons for refusal: 

1. Fear of persecution by German authorities for past revolutionary ac- 

2. According to those refusing, their affiliation with the Communist 

3 . Many resided on territory that is now part of Germany, but their rel- 
atives are in Western Ukraine and Belorussia, and they ask to be allowed 
to stay at their relatives' places of residence. 

I request your instructions. 199 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major Soprunenko 

Head of the Political Section of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Regimental Commissar Nekhoroshev 

Polish military settlers from former eastern Poland, called up to 
serve in the Polish Army and taken prisoner in September 1939, or 
taken from their homes, were considered a "dangerous social ele- 
ment" and thus not subject to release. 200 

• 24 • 

Pyotr Soprunenko's Instructions to the Commanders of the POW Camps 
on Sending [Military] Settlers to Ostashkov Camp 
29 October 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 
Note [for] transmission by direct wire 

No [military] settlers discovered among the soldiers and junior officers 
shall be subject to dispatch home [to] Western Belorussia and Western 
Ukraine. They should be dispatched [to] Ostashkov camp. 

Report the number discovered and dispatched. Soprunenko. No. 

Polish physicians and pharmacists requested release in accordance 
with the Geneva Convention on the treatment of POWs; their petition 
was rejected. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 25 ■ 

Petition from POW Physicians and Pharmacists to Marshal Kliment Ye. Voroshilov 
30 October 1939, Starobelsk 

To the Commander in Chief of USSR Forces 
Citizen Marshal Voroshilov 

The physicians and pharmacists of the Polish Army who are concen- 
trated in the prisoner-of-war camp at Starobelsk, Voroshilovgrad Oblast, 
numbering 130 men (104 physicians and 26 pharmacists), take the liberty 
of stating to you, Citizen Marshal, the following: 

All the physicians and pharmacists were captured by Soviet troops 
while they were carrying out their physician duties, either in hospitals or 
in military units. On the basis of the international Geneva Convention 
regulating the rights of physicians and pharmacists during military opera- 
tions, 201 we request that you, Citizen Marshal, either facilitate sending us 
to one of the neutral states (United States of North America, Sweden) or 
send us to our places of permanent residence. 202 


30 October 193c) 203 

[Followed by 112 signatures in Polish] 

GB Major Vasily Zarubin made a very favorable impression on the 
officer prisoners in Kozelsk camp. He was courteous, spoke three 
Western languages, and lent them books in those languages. Few sus- 
pected that his task was to direct investigative work and recruit agents. 
Later, in spring 1940, he was actively involved in "clearing out" the 
camp (extermination). 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 26 • 

NKVD UPV Telegram to Vasily Korolev on Sending the UPV Inspector GB Major 
Vasily Zarubin to Kozelsk Camp 204 
31 October 1939, Moscow 


Kozelsk, Smolensk [Oblast] 
NKVD Camp 
To Korolev 

On 31 October, the UPV inspector GB Major Zarubin left [for] your 
camp in order to assist in the camp's operations. Send a car for him. All of 
Zarubin 's instructions are to be carried out. 

Soprunenko. Nekhoroshev. No. Z066803. 

In September 1939, several thousand Polish military and police 
crossed into Lithuania and Latvia to escape Soviet captivity. Some 
were transferred to Russia in late 1939 and interned there. Secrecy sur- 
rounded all mention of the officers, military officials, and police. 

• 27 • 

n the Admission to the USSR of Polish Military Personnel 
Interned in Lithuania 205 
9 November 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 
Special Folder 

Resolution no. i8 5i-484ssof the USSR Council of People's Commissars 
9 November 1939, Moscow, the Kremlin 
On Admitting Military Personnel of the Former Polish Army 
Interned in Lithuania into the USSR 

The USSR Council of People's Commissars resolves: 

1. To receive from the Lithuanian government POWs of [the] former 
Polish Army interned in Lithuania [who are] residents of Western Ukraine 
and Belorussia [and who] express a desire to return to their homeland. 

z. To send the rank and file and junior officers of the army of the former 
Poland received [from Lithuania] to their places of residence. Officers, 
military officials, and police are to be received and sent for detention: offi- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

cers to the Yukhnov [POW camp], officials and police to the Yuzha pris- 
oner-of-war camp, where they will be subject to selection. 206 

This point, concerning officers and police officials, is to be treated as 
top secret. 

3. To have the internees cross the border at four checkpoints located in 
Gudogantsy [Gudogahce] and Martsinkantse [Marcinkahce] at a rate of 
Z50 men per day at each point. 

4. To assign the entire receiving operation for internees to the USSR 
Narkomvnudel [NKVD]. 

5. To send to Lithuania to select and receive the internees a government 
commission consisting of Brigadier Commander Com. G. A. Petrov (chair- 
man) [with the following] members: Captain Com. M. M. Udachin, Cap- 
tain Com. V. A. Solovyov, Captain Com. G. Ya. Zlochevsky, GB Captain 
Com. S. A. Roditelev, GB Lieutenant Com. I. G. Variash, GB 1st Lieu- 
tenant Com. B. I. Kutyn, and GB 1st Lieutenant Com. A. A. Pchelkin. 

6. USSR Narkomfin [People's Commissariat of Finance] shall allocate 
funds at the request of USSR Narkomvnudel for the payment of addi- 
tional expenses incurred in the reception of internees, with confirmation 
of these expenses by the USSR Sovnarkom [SNK]. 

7. The NKPS, in accordance with the requests of Narkomvnudel, is to 
provide for the rail transport of internees of the former Polish Army re- 
ceived in our territory. 207 

Chairman of the USSR SNK 
V. Molotov 

Chief of the USSR SNK Chancellery 
M. Khlomov* 

On 19 November, the UPV reported the number of POWs released 
and the number held in NKVD camps. (Some numbers in the report 
were underlined in pencil. ) 

* The facsimile of the original page 2 has a handwritten list of officials to whom copies were 
sent: "1 — original copy; z — Com. Stalin, I. V.: 5 — NKID | People's Commissariat of Foreign 
Affairs] Com. Molotov, V. M.; 4— NKVD Com. Beria, L. P.; 5— NKO [People's Commis- 
sariat of Defense ( :om. Voroslnlox. K. Y.; | illegible w ord], 1543; 6 — NKID Com. Potemkin; 
7 — Com. Cheniukha. Extracts NKFin [People's ( simmissariat ot Finance!. p|oint| 6; NKPS, 
p. 7"; see KDZi, p. 246. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 28 • 


NKVD UPV Report on the Number of POWs Sent Away and Held in the Camps 
19 November 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 

Report on Prisoners of War Received, Dispatched, 
and Remaining in NKVD Camps 

Total POWs received 

Sent to Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine 
Handed over to the German authorities 

Detained in camps: 

a) officer contingent 

b) police and gendarmes 
Total officers, police, and gendarmes detained in Starobelsk 

Kozelsk, and Ostashkov camps 
Rank and file and junior officers detained in camps 

for Narkomchermet operations 
Rank and file and junior officers detained in Rovno camp 
Total soldiers and NCOs detained in Narkomchermet 

and Rovno camps 

Total detained in all NKVD prisoner-of-war camps 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major P. Soprunenko 

After the accession of Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia to 
the USSR (1-2 November 1939), Soprunenko, head of the NKVD 
UPV, formulated two proposals: (1) to change the status of POWs be- 
ing used as forced labor by the NKVD and the People's Commissariat 
of Ferrous Metallurgy and (2) to use police POWs as forced labor, as 
well as possibly some of the officer contingent. His proposals were not 
approved by Beria. 



0 people' 


0 people 

8,500 people 
6,500 people 

1 j, 000 people 2 

10,400 people 
14,200 people 

24,600 people 
39,600 people 2 

* Italic entries are underlined in the document. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 29 • 

NKVD UPV Proposals to Beria on the Release of Some POWs 
After 2 November 1939,* Moscow 

To the USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 1st Rank 
Comrade L. P. Beria 

A large part of the prisoner-of-war soldiers of the former Polish Army 
coming from the territories of Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia 
have been released to [their] homelands. The release of soldiers to the [Pol- 
ish] territory [now] belonging to Germany, in an exchange procedure with 
the latter, is coming to a close. 210 

At present, there are a good number of prisoner-of-war soldiers em- 
ployed in productive jobs: 18,000 at Construction Site no. i 211 and 
10,396 in USSR Narkomchermet mining operations. 212 

The rank-and-file soldiers of the former Polish Army held in our camps, 
especially from the territories of Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, 
have openly expressed their desire for, and pleaded to be released to their 
homes as soon as possible in order to take up active participation with 
their entire people in the organization and construction of a new and 
happy life. 

Now, after the decision of the 5th Extraordinary Session of the USSR 
Supreme Soviet on the union of Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia 
with the USSR, they are citizens of the USSR, and their detention as POWs 
contradicts the session's decision. 213 The moods of the POWs up to the 
present day express more and more strongly their desire to return to their 
homelands as soon as possible. In an organized fashion they are request- 
ing to be released (two letters addressed to Comrade Stalin from Con- 
struction Site no. 1) and are running away unlawfully in small numbers 
(1,000 men [from] Construction Site no. 1), and there are instances of es- 
capes from other camps. 

In this situation, their further detention as POWs could give rise to false 
interpretations among them and, through them, among the workers of 
Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, providing our enemies with am- 
munition for anti-Soviet agitation. This could happen also because it was 
announced to 1,470 men as they were leaving Putivl camp that they were 
going home, whereas they were in fact sent to Krivoy Rog. 

* This report was apparcnth sent soon alter the end ot the 5th Extraordinary Session of the 
Supreme Soviet on 2 November 1939, when it agreed to the incorporation of Western Be- 
lorussia and Western Ukraine into the respective Soviet republics. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Based on the above, we consider it possible to submit for your consider- 
ation the following proposals: 

1. In connection with the decision of the 5th Extraordinary Session of 
the USSR Supreme Soviet, change the status of the POWs working at 
Narkomchermet ore extraction sites to that of freely hired workers; [but] 
first conduct among them preliminary propaganda — explanatory work to 
secure them as a workforce in the mines with the same rights as all USSR 

2. Release all POWs from Construction Site no. 1 and replace them with 
the police in our camps, who number 4,977, of whom the 3,000 [originat- 
ing] from the territories of Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia are 
idle. Sooner or later they will have to be trained to work. Assign a rein- 
forced guard to them. 

3 . Differentiate among the officer contingents detained in our camps, a 
total of 8,980 men, 4,500 of whom are from the territories of Western 
Ukraine and Western Belorussia, in order to decide where to utilize those 
in each category. 214 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major (Soprunenko) 

Commissar of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Regimental Commissar (Nekhoroshev) 

Several detailed NKVD reports were written at this time on condi- 
tions in the camps, on prisoner moods, on "political work," and on 
films (see also doc. 32). These aspects of camp life are also described in 
the memoirs and diaries found at Katyn when exhumations were car- 
ried out there in spring 1943. The diaries show that in the first few 
weeks the food, clothing, and housing sometimes were even worse 
than presented in this NKVD report, and medical supplies were totally 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 30 • 

NKVD UPV Report to Vasily Chernyshov on Conditions in Kozelsk Camp 
Not before i December 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 

To USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
Divisional Commander Com. Chernyshov 
Report on the Situation in Kozelsk NKVD Prisoner-of-War 
Camp as of 1 December 1939 

As a result of the inspection of the condition of the camp carried out by 
workers of the USSR NKVD UPV, the following has been established: 

Since 1 November of this year, a prisoner-of-war officer contingent has 
arrived at Kozelsk camp numbering 4,727 people, 215 consisting of: 

1. Admirals 

2. Generals 

3. Colonels 

4. Lieutenant colonels 

5. Majors 

6. Captains 

7. Naval captains 

8. Other officers 

9. Military clergy 

10. Landowners 

12. High state officials 

13. Rank and file, subject to being sent away 

Initially, the camp was not fully prepared to receive a prisoner-of-war 
officer contingent, having refitted the buildings with two-tiered instead of 
the [former] three-tiered bunks. In addition, the POWs arrived in large 

At the present time, the POWs are housed satisfactorily. 
Housekeeping Provisions for Camp Operations 

The camp has been experiencing interruptions in the food supply; in par- 
ticular, recently there has been a total lack of vegetables (cabbage, carrots, 
onions) and there are no prospects for obtaining them in the rayon [dis- 
trict]. There are enough potatoes for a few days, [but] the delivery orders 
are not filled satisfactorily, and the district leadership explains this by say- 
ing that Moscow has priority for potato shipments. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

The camp is lacking certain material supplies; there are not enough 
blankets, sheets, or pillowcases. Many POWs are wearing summer clothes 
and worn-out, torn footwear. Considering the winter season, quilted jack- 
ets, quilted trousers, and footwear are needed. 

The buildings occupied by the POWs are perfectly suitable for housing 
in the winter, but some blocks are still overcrowded, so it has been pro- 
posed to make capital repairs to two buildings in which it will be possible 
to place up to 3 50 men, so making it possible to reduce the congestion. 

One of the initial deficiencies in provisioning the POWs was the delayed 
supply of bedding; in particular, there was not enough straw for stuffing 

The camp is provided with fuel, primarily peat. Before the onset of 
frost, there were interruptions in the fuel supply because of poor access to 
the peat works. The camp is supplied only intermittently with firewood 
because of the delayed execution of the orders [given] by Viazemlag [Vi- 
azma camp]. 

The basic economic problem in the camp is the poor condition of the 
water pump station; the motor and pump are completely out of order, 
[and] as a result, the normal water supply is breaking down. Measures 
have been taken by the UPV to replace the water pump station immedi- 
ately. The electric power station is in almost the same condition and will 
also be replaced with a new one. 

The camp's provisioning apparatus still functions incompletely; there is 
a lack of proper decisiveness, of responsibility for the work being carried 
out to accomplish the assigned tasks, and the camp's housekeeping appa- 
ratus requires assistance on a daily basis. There are many organizational 
flaws in the camp that frequently involve a lack of personal responsibility, 
carelessness, and letting things slide. This refers primarily to the house- 
keeping apparatus; there is a lack of proper control over the implementa- 
tion [of their work] by the camp command and, hence, a lack of timely as- 

Prisoner-of-War Records 

At this moment the registration records on the prisoner-of-war officer 
contingent have been completed. The photographing continues. The staff 
of the Records Section has changed frequently as the result of a poor 
choice of personnel. 

Sanitary Conditions in the Camp 

Until recently, the cleaning of the buildings housing the POWs was not 
done on a regular basis. 

Cleaning of the camp grounds has started only recently. There are not 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

enough lavatories in the camp; there is only one enclosed winter lavatory, 
and now construction has begun on two more such lavatories. Lavatories 
are not disinfected on a regular basis. 

Sanitary oversight for the camp is inadequate; the buildings occupied by 
the kitchens are not kept clean enough; one of them is too small, and mea- 
sures have been taken to expand it. At present, permanent sanitary over- 
sight has been established over the kitchens. 

The existing bathhouse at the camp, which has a capacity of up to 200- 
250 men per day, cannot serve the entire contingent of the camp in the 
course of fifteen days. The camp laundry is fully equipped, but its opera- 
tions are still not producing the appropriate effect for lack of a normal wa- 
ter supply and a good drying room. 

The Medical Section and field hospital are located in buildings that are 
wholly appropriate from the medical standpoint. Lately the Medical Sec- 
tion has been fully staffed with physicians, some of them POWs. 

On average there are from thirty-five to forty very sick men in sick bay, 
most of them ill with flu, pulmonary disease, or rheumatism. The camp 
has been supplied with sufficient quantities of medications. There have 
been no epidemics or group infections. Lice infestations have been re- 
duced to 2-3 percent. 217 

Political and Moral Condition of the Prisoners of War 
The officer contingent of the POWs noticed on arriving in the camp that 
they were concentrated in one area and that their detention would evi- 
dently be lengthier [than expected], so they began to make increased de- 
mands regarding their living conditions — for example, money payments 
in the form of [military] "pay," shoe brushes, shoe polish, etc. 

Some officers manifest patriotic feelings and openly state that "Poland 
will exist again in its previous shape." 

Several officers, when they were together with the soldiers, cut off their 
stars so now, when only officers are detained in the camp, they have re- 
stored respect for rank, and some of them have sewn their marks of dis- 
tinction, their "little stars," back on their epaulettes. 218 

For the most part, the officer contingent is religious, and there was an 
instance when they attempted to hold public prayer in one of the blocks, 
but when the camp's political workers appeared, this was prevented, and 
it was immediately made clear that henceforth the guilty would be held re- 
sponsible for similar attempts to hold public prayers, and the hanging of 
icons or crosses in the buildings was also prohibited. 

Among the officer contingent, card playing has been noted, and up to 
fifteen packs of cards have been confiscated. 219 

The POWs pay attention to the political talks that are held, except for 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


some individuals who ignore them or try to ask casuistic questions in or- 
der to confuse or disrupt the presentation. Such individuals are placed un- 
der observation, in cooperation with the [camp] Special Section, and are 
checked up on with the goal of isolating them. 

The POWs show an increased need to buy sugar, tobacco, and candies. 
The availability of Soviet money among POWs is connected with the 
opening of a purchase point for jewelry by the Glaviuvelirtorg [Main Jew- 
elry Trade Administration]. 

On this basis, there are unhealthy attitudes — for instance, "Why sell 
valuables if you can't buy anything with the money you get, anyway? " 

The existing shop of the Kozelsk Potrebsoiuz [Consumer Union] really 
does not have the goods specified, and measures taken through the 
Smolensk Obltorg [Regional Trade Administration] have not yielded a 
positive resolution of the issue. The shop has been empty up to the present 

No instances of theft have been recorded among the officer contingent. 
There have been no escapes or attempted escapes by individuals or 

On 28 November 1939, there was an incident when prisoner-of-war 
soldiers from two blocks refused to eat. The commission created [to inves- 
tigate this] established that the food was edible in all respects, after which 
this food (soup) was accepted by the POWs. The reason for their refusal 
was provocation by hostile individuals. 

On z December 1939, at Kozelsk camp, the prisoner-of-war Ensign 
Bazyli Zacharski, son of Antony, who was born in 1898, a lathe operator 
until 19 14 and serving continuously in the Polish Army since 19 19, com- 
mitted suicide (hanged himself). 220 Zacharski's corpse was discovered 
in the (unoccupied) storeroom of Barracks no. 48 by prisoner of war 
Ozog. 221 Zacharski left no notes. From questioning, it is clear that Zachar- 
ski badly missed his family, which remained in Grodno. 

An investigation is being conducted into the case of Zacharski's sui- 
cide. 222 

Political Work among the Prisoners of War 

Political work among the POWs is being conducted by workers of the 
[camp] Political Section through talks, newspaper reading, explanations 
of current political issues, and answers to questions. 

Mass cultural work among the POWs is being carried out by showing 
films, three or four showings every other day, which is enough for the en- 

A string orchestra has been created in the camp club, and choral singing 
is being organized by teaching the songs of the Soviet Union. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Radio networks have been established in each block, and there is a 
loudspeaker near the club. 

The POWs are supplied with fiction and socio-economic literature, 
newspapers, and magazines through the existing library. Glass [display] 
cases have been made for the central newspapers; the club and the terri- 
tory of the camp are decorated with slogans and posters. 

Organizational Measures 

In order to strengthen the work of the camp's provisioning apparatus, the 
camp commander's housekeeping assistant has been replaced by a sturdier 

All measures have been taken to have the water tower pump replaced 
with a new one. An order has been given for a new motor to be sent. 

With respect to political work, attention has been called to the educa- 
tion of the freely hired camp staff and their need of training in order to in- 
crease vigilance and the struggle against immoral acts. 223 

The Party organization is focused on rendering assistance to the camp's 
provisioning apparatus. 

Workers previously delegated from the [UPV] administration have done 
significant work to bring the housekeeping apparatus up to the desired 
level. A series of irregularities was eliminated — for example, with respect 
to fuel, straw, vegetables, sanitary conditions, construction, record taking, 
and photograph taking. Also, assistance has been given in political and 
mass party work. 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major (Soprunenko) 

Commissar of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Regimental Commissar (Nekhoroshev) 

The Politburo decision of 3 December 1939 to arrest all regular Pol- 
ish officers registered in the western regions of Belorussia and Ukraine 
added to the number already held in the camps. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 31 • 

Politburo Decision to Arrest All Registered Regular Officers 
of the Former Polish Army 
3 December 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 
Special Folder 
From 3 December 1939 
151.— NKVD Matter 

Ratify the NKVD proposal to arrest all registered regular officers of the 
former Polish Army. 224 
Excerpt sent to: 
Comrade Beria 

VKP(b) TsK Secretary 
I[J.] Stalin 

[Facsimile signature of J. Stalin stamped with a round red seal, with the 
legend "All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks" and, in the inner cir- 
cle, the letters "CC."] 

Starobelsk camp held most of the high-ranking military officers, and 
it is clear that special propaganda efforts were made to find agents and 
informers among them. However, the vast majority proved as immune 
to these efforts as were the officers in Kozelsk camp. 

• 32 • 

Report from the Commander of Starobelsk Camp to Semyon Nekhoroshe\ 
on the Political and Moral Conditions in the Camp in November 1939 
3 December 1939, Starobelsk 

No. 5-37 
Top Secret 

To the Head of the Political Department of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Regimental Commissar Com. Nekhoroshev 
Political Report on the Political and Moral Conditions 
in the Starobelsk NKVD Camp for November 1939 225 

I report that the political-educational work among the POWs was car- 
ried out on the basis of your directives. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

All political-educational work was done in the form of readings, talks, 
political information sessions, and answers to questions from POWs; by 
providing the POWs with newspapers and books and showing films; by 
extensive use of radio; and by strict daily oversight over providing for the 
POWs all the necessary supplies according to established norms. 

The following work was done in November: 

Mass political work was done for 3,907 POWs. 

All mass political work among the POWs was organized according to 
plan, in the fulfillment of which the Party and Komsomol [Communist 
Youth League] organizations took the lead. 

The measures foreseen in the plan of party-political work among the 
POWs were carried out for the most part in full. 

A. Talks were given on the [following] topics: 

a) The reasons for the victory of the October Socialist Revolution in the 
USSR and its international significance 

b) The twenty-second anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revo- 

c) The beginning of the new imperialist war and the foreign policy of the 
Soviet Union 

d) What the victory of socialism has given the workers of the USSR 

e) The material and cultural welfare of the workers of the USSR 

f ) What tsarist Russia was and what the USSR has become 

g) A discussion was held with the POWs about the film Lenin v Ok- 
tiabre [Lenin in October] 

B. Readings were held and explanations conducted of material read in 

1. On the foreign policy of the Soviet Union (report by Com. Molotov 
of 31 October 1939). 226 

z. The report by Com. Molotov at the ceremonial plenum devoted to 
the twenty-second anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, 
6 November 1939. 227 

3. An English magazine on the reasons for Poland's defeat {Pravda 
[Truth], 18 November 1939). 

4. Materials from the 5th Session of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. 228 

5. Twice a week a political information [session] is held on the topic 
"What's New in the USSR and Abroad." 

6. The reading of newspapers out loud has been organized in the blocks. 

C. Organizational-instructional measures carried out among the POWs: 
1. Talks were given in all the blocks on the topic "Internal Regulations 

in the Camp." 

z. Conversations took place with block commandants and [POW] el- 
ders group 229 on the topic "Internal Regulations in the Blocks." 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


3. Explanatory work has been done among the POWs about permission 
to write letters. 230 

a) a conversation took place with the heads of the r ns [rayons — 


b) a conversation took place with the block commandants and group el- 

4. An organized procedure for answering questions was established, 
and a journal for questions was hung in each block. Each prisoner of war 
personally receives a reply to a written question from an instructor of the 
Political Section in two days. 

D. The following films have been shown to the POWs: 

1. Chelovek s Ruzhem [Man with a Rifle] 

2. Gorny Marsh [Mountain March] 

3. Povest o Zavoevannom Schaste [Tale of Happiness Hard Won] 

4. Lenin v Oktiabre [Lenin in October] 

5. Sluchai na Polustanke [Incident at the Stop] 

6. Noch v Sentiabre [A Night in September] 

7. Lenin v 1918 g. [Lenin in 1918] 

8. Morskoi Post [The Sea Post] 

9. Pyotr Pervy [Peter the First, Part 1] 

10. Pyotr Pervy [Peter the First, Part 2] 

11. Marseleza [The Marseillaise] 

12. Vragi [Enemies] 

13. Bogatyri Rodiny [Heroes of the Homeland] 

As many as 30,000 POWs have attended the film shows. The POWs 
liked each picture and are interested in what the next film will be. Two 
movie showings were organized at the municipal cinema for the former 
brigadier generals and colonels, who were also pleased and thanked [the 
organizers] for the attention [shown them]. 

E. Glass cases for photocopies of newspapers on the [following] topics 
have been installed in the camp: 

1. The Difficult Past of Our Homeland 

2. The USSR — Land of Victorious Socialism 

3 . The Third Stalinist Five- Year Plan 

The camp buildings were decorated with slogans and posters for the 
twenty-second anniversary of the October [Revolution]. Preparations are 
now under way for the [propaganda] setting on the day that workers' 
deputies are elected to local councils. 

F. Library operations: 

The library has 3,443 different books. It receives 805 different newspa- 
pers and 173 magazines. The library systematically serves 1,280 readers. 
The reading room is used by 200 readers per day. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

G. Radio service organized for POWs: 

Forty-two radio [reception] points have been established to serve the 
POWs; thirty-two are provided with speakers, two of which are loud- 

The POWs have radio service daily from 05:00 in the morning until 
24:00 at night. 

Large groups of 200-500 POWs have listened to the following: 

a) Com. Molotov's report at the 5th Session of the USSR Supreme So- 
viet 231 

b) Reports by members of the Plenipotentiary Commission of Western 
Ukraine and Western Belorussia 

c) Com. Molotov's report at the ceremonial plenum of the Moscow 
Council on 6 November 1939 

d) Com. Molotov's radio speech of 29 November 1939 232 

Daily, in the morning, afternoon, and evening, the POWs listen to the 
radio broadcast of the latest news from Moscow. 

H. Cultural inventory: 

The following cultural property has been acquired and issued to the 
POWs for their use: 

Harmonicas 3 
Chess sets 20 
Checkers sets 25 

Preparations are under way for a chess tournament in each barrack, after 
which an all-camp chess tournament will be held. 

The lack of housing for a club has been a major impediment to con- 
ducting political-educational work among the POWs. 

All the talks, readings, and information sessions are held by the political 
apparatus in each block; films are shown in the yard. These circumstances 
make the normal conduct of work very difficult and do not allow us to in- 
volve the entire mass of POWs in the systematic work of the political ap- 

The workers of the Political Section, along with implementing the plan 
for mass agitation work, have directly supervised operations to dispatch, 
receive, and lodge POWs, also to organize the blocks' food supply and hy- 
giene service, and have assisted in the work of the camp's URO. The con- 
struction of two new barracks was serviced by an instructor especially as- 
signed for this, Comrade Kaganer. 

The following measures are planned in December for the conduct of 
political-educational work among the POWs: 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

I. All workers in the Political Section have been assigned barracks in 
which to conduct talks, political information sessions, readings, talks, and 
other forms of mass work among the POWs. 

In the month of December it is planned to explain the following topics 
to the POWs in the form of talks, lectures, and papers: 

a) the radio speech of the chairman of the USSR government, Com. 
Molotov, of 29 November 1939. 

b) on the Stalin Socialist Constitution. 233 
On social structure: 

c) the USSR — a mighty industrial power. 

d) the USSR — land of the most outstanding socialist agriculture in 
the world. 

e) the USSR — the most democratic country in the world. The state 
structure of the Soviet Union and the electoral system. 

f ) the inviolable alliance between workers and peasants — the foun- 
dation of the Soviet system. 

g) the fraternal alliance of the peoples of the USSR — the implementa- 
tion of the Leninist-Stalinist nationalities policy. The USSR — the great 
family of Soviet peoples. 

h) the life and career of I. V. Stalin. 

i) the new intelligentsia of the Soviet people. 

II. Organize collective listening to the radio, utilizing the local radio re- 
lay center: 

1. Com. Stalin's report on the Constitution at the 8 th [Extraordinary] 
USSR Congress of Soviets [24 November 1936]. 

2. Com. Molotov's speech at the 8th USSR Congress of Soviets. 

3. Com. Stalin's speech on the preelectoral assembly. 

III. Equip the club building and develop club work. 

1. By 15 December, obtain a building vacated [for this purpose] and 
equip the club [as follows]: 

a) a viewing hall for 400 persons 

b) a library 

c) a reading room 

d) a game room — for chess, checkers, and dominos 

e) a room for study group work 

2. Set up the mobile movie projectors received for film service for the 
POWs (we request that the [UPV] administration send a transformer to 
convert the electric current from 220V to nov and a Pathenor electric dy- 
namo generator). 

3. To give lectures to the POWs on these topics: 

a) The New Intelligentsia of the Soviet People 

b) The Friendship and Fraternity of the Peoples of the USSR 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

4. Organize circles for: 

b) music 

c) chess and checkers 

5. Hold a camp-wide chess tournament 

6. Install the following photo exhibit cases: 

a) The Life and Work of Sergei Mironovich Kirov 234 

b) The Life and Work of Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin 

c) The First Elections under the Stalin Constitution 

7. Organize the showing of the following films: 

1. Veliky Grazhdanin [The Great Citizen] 

2. Parad Molodosti [The Parade of Youth] 

3. Beleet Parus Odinoky [The Lone White Sail] 

4. Vysokaia Nagrada [A High Reward] 

5. Trinadtsat [Thirteen] 

6. Traktoristy [Tractor Drivers] 

7. Nock v Sentiabre [A Night in September] 

8. Komsomolsk 235 

9. Chelovek s Ruzbiem [A Man with a Rifle] 

10. Baltitsy [The Baltic Sailors] 

1 1 . Druzhia [Friends] 

iz. VLiudiakh [Among People] 

13. Karmeliuk 

14. Chest [Honor] and others 

8. Expand the radio network in the camp by providing eleven points 
with loudspeakers (there will be forty-three radio points in all), and pro- 
vide radio service in the club building by installing five loudspeakers. 

9. Give talks on and explain the film A Man with a Rifle. 

The Political-Moral Condition of the Prisoners of War 
In the past month, the political apparatus has discovered the following in- 
stances of c-r operations among the POWs: 

1. Com. Kaganer, an instructor in the Political Section, has established 
that prisoner of war Mieczyslaw Ewert, a former captain in the Polish 
Army, organized a group out of the officer contingent — Major Ludwig 
Domoh, Stanislaw Kwolek, 236 and others — with the aim of conducting 
c-r work under the guise of "cultural enlightenment work" (lectures on hy- 
giene, foreign language study, [lectures] on technology in capitalist states, 
etc.), but in fact during these "talks" on the above issues, c-r activity was 
conducted against the internal regulations of the camp and the camp ad- 
ministration [using such slogans as] "Speak only Polish," "Don't go to 
your camp jobs," "The worse it is in the camp, the better for us — this way 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


we will compromise the camp administration and the camp procedures 
before the international commission that is going to come soon," etc. 237 
The above-mentioned incident was immediately reported to the Special 
Section, and as a result of the search conducted, a list was uncovered of the 
individuals participating in this group, as was the group's plan of activity. 
The group's organizers, consisting of three men — Ewert, Domoh, and 
Kwolek — have been removed from the camp. 

2. Com. Mikhailenko, an instructor in the Political Section, during a 
tour of the blocks, discovered that in one of the blocks prisoner of war 
Major L. J. Domoh had been reading at length to a group of POWs the 
register of loans issued in zlotys through the mutual aid fund organized 
among the officer contingent. The register listed eighty names, seventy- 
eight of which had a signature for the receipt of 100 zlotys a piece and a 
"declaration" promising to return the money upon return from captivity. 
Upon clarification of this fact, it was established that the fund had been 
organized on the principle of [collecting] "voluntary" dues from individu- 
als possessing large sums of zlotys. The fund operated under the leader- 
ship of Ludwig Domoh (a major in the former Polish Army), who has been 
removed from the camp. 

The fund's administration consisted of five men and a review commis- 
sion of three men. The fund's administration, according to incomplete in- 
formation, has issued loans exceeding 10,000 zlotys. 

At present, both the former and the latter group have been disbanded, 
and the c-r activity under the guise of the "mutual aid fund" and the "cul- 
tural commission" has ceased. 

The political apparatus for the blocks, as well as the groups and blocks 
among the POWs, has conducted the appropriate work to prevent the cre- 
ation of groups and circles and has also strengthened oversight in order to 
prevent any organized work among the POWs under any pretense what- 

3 . There was an attempt to organize prayer services on camp territory 
on the Polish national holiday. Through the efforts of the party apparatus, 
this attempt was prevented, but in one of the blocks a prayer service was 
held nonetheless and lasted fifteen minutes, after which the prayer service 
was stopped. There have been attempts to hang crosses and icons in the 
buildings, and such practices have been categorically forbidden.* 

4. Regarding events in the international situation, individual officers 
say: "The USSR has become the land of Red imperialism." These a[nti]- 
S[oviet] actions were halted immediately. 

* Handwritten note in red pencil, in the margins alongside point 3: "Religious rites should 
have been allowed. Prohibition — a mistake." 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

There have been no instances of suicide. The prisoner-of-war physician 
who in October attempted to slit his throat with a razor has recovered and 
is in the camp. 

There have been no epidemic illnesses. 

No group or individual escapes have been reported. 

There have been no instances of refusal to eat either by a group or by 
isolated individuals. 

With the arrival of the POWs from Shepetovka [Szepietowka], 238 there 
was an incident of boot theft from one prisoner of war and the resale of 
goods purchased at the local kiosk. The political apparatus took appro- 
priate measures, and no more such incidents have been reported. 

There has been no drunkenness. 

There have been no accidents, breakdowns, or fires. 

The Housekeeping Condition of the Camp 

The following measures were carried out in November: 

1. Two barracks were built for 1,040 men. 

2. One artesian well was dug and equipped. 

3. Work began on installing a sewer system inside the camp. 

4. A kitchen was built for 3,000 men and put into use. 

5. The building used for the medical unit and the infirmary was reno- 
vated. The medical unit was moved to new quarters. 

6. Wooden sidewalks were built and installed in the camp yard. 

7. A dining hall for camp workers was equipped and put into use. 

8. Accommodation was prepared for the laundry. 

9. A plan was drawn up for the construction of a dining hall and a 
kitchen for i,zoo men. For construction work, it is absolutely necessary to 
speed up the unloading of nails (5 metric tons) and roofing paper. 

Medical Services for the Prisoners of War 

The following activities were carried out in the month of November: 

1. Prisoners of war were taken to the municipal bathhouse on the aver- 
age of three times each. 

In connection with the arrival of the new contingent from Shepetovka, 
who had not changed clothes in a long time, there was a delousing of 
POWs. The operating and medical departments took urgent measures to 
eliminate this abnormality, and at present lice infestation among the 
POWs who arrived has been eliminated. 

2. There has been systematic cleaning and disinfection of the yard and 
all places of contamination. 

3. The housing has been cleaned and disinfected — 3,117 cubic meters. 

4. Sewage has been carried out of the camp yard on 614 horsecarts. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

5. Injections have been given: 

a) for typhoid fever 

b) smallpox shot 

6. Clinic visits 

a) first time 

b) repeat 

By type of illness: 

2,432 men 
1,897 men 
1,123 men 
2,345 men 
4,945 men 
1,786 men 
3,026 men 

a) surgical 

875 men 

b) respiratory tract ailments 

438 men 

425 men 

d) skin ailments 

646 " 

e) eye ailments 

448 " 

f ) dental ailments 

538 " 

g) flu and angina 

144 " 

h) venereal diseases 

65 " 

i) change dressing 

446 " 

j) ailments of the ear, throat, and nose 

232 " 

k) miscellaneous ailments 

611 " 

e gastric ailments were reported during v 

ts to the outpatient 
t-days, [listed here] 

7. The camp infirmary provided service for 557 c 
by type of illness: 

a ) respiratory tract ailments 185 men 

b) surgical ailments 31 " 

c) flu and angina 81 " 

e) heart 3 " 

f) miscellaneous 134 " 

8. Five men were in the interregional hospital for ti 
The nature of their illnesses: pneumonia, ileitis, and gastritis. In all, for 

the month of November there were in the venereal disease clinic for treat- 
ment for: 

1. Syphilis one man 

2. Gonorrhea one man 

9. There was no mortality among the POWs in the month of November. 

URO Work 

As of 1 December, the following had been accomplished: 

98 Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

i. Personal questionnaires filled out 3,800 copies 
z. Personal files created and registered 3,500 items 

3. Form no. z cards sent to the USSR 

NKVD Administration 3,500 items 

4. Remaining: 

a) unfilled personal questionnaires 107 items 

b) Form no. z cards to be prepared 

and sent to the administration 407 items 

c) by 3 December, lists of POWs from among the former leadership 
cadre (generals, colonels, lieutenant colonels, landowners, and other 
officials) will be completed and sent to the [NKVD] Administration 

5. The card file both for those present [in camp] and for those who have 
left is 100 percent complete. 

6. In the registration book z,ooo men from the present contingent have 
been recorded. A registration book was not established for the departed 

All the URO work will be completed by 8 December of this year. The 
photographic work is proceeding unsatisfactorily. The chief obstacle to 
this is the shortage of materials (plates and paper) — the photo materials 
sent from Moscow turned out to be useless. 

The Work of the Finance Section 

The financing of the camp during the month of November was greatly de- 
layed, which slowed down the normal pace of work. The receipt of money 
into the camp's account actually began on zi November; before that it 
was necessary to provide food for the POWs and other goods by using the 
credit of trade organizations without permission. 

As of Z9 November, there were unpaid accounts totaling 350,000 
rubles. After the head of the Finance Section, Com. Kobelev, left for 
Voroshilovgrad [renamed Luhansk in 1958] on Z5 November, and after 
two telegrams addressed to the Administration (Com. Berenzon), the 
camp's account received 300,000 rubles, which did not cover payment of 
the debt of 350,000 rubles. After a second telegram addressed to the Ad- 
ministration (Com. Berenzon) and the Voroshilovgrad Oblast NKVD, 
zoo,ooo rubles were paid into the camp's account on z December. 

In accordance with the camp financing plan, there are allocations of 
1,300,000 [rubles] for November and December; of this, 700,000 has 
been received, and we request that the remaining 600,000 be sent no later 
than 1 z December 1939. We request that measures be taken for the timely 
and continuous financing of the camp during the month of December. 

Head of the NKVD camp 
GB Captain Berezhkov 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Commissar of the NKVD camp 
Battalion Commissar Kirshin 

The new NKVD reception-distribution centers, ordered by Beria on 
10 December 1939, were to hold Polish Army officers who were to be 
arrested in the UkSSR the same day (doc. 34). 239 

• 33 • 

NKVD Commissar's Order no. 0408 to Organize New Receptk 
and Distribution Centers in the UkSSR 
10 December 1939, Moscow 


Order of the USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs for 1939 
No. 0408 
10 December 1939 

Content: On the Organization of NKVD Reception 
and Distribution Centers in the New Oblasts of the UkSSR 

In connection with the organization of new oblasts in the UkSSR, I or- 

1. Organize in Lvov, Tarnopol, Lutsk [Luck], Rovno, Dragobych [Dro- 
hobycz], and Stanislavov NKVD reception-distribution centers with a 
transitional stationing capacity of fifty men apiece, with their mainte- 
nance paid out of local resources. 

2. In connection with this, add a supplement to [the instruction for] the 
displacement of reception-distribution centers and NKVD labor colonies 
for minors, as announced in USSR NKVD Order no. 0155 of 29 Decem- 
ber 1937. 240 

USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
Divisional Commissar Chernyshov 

The arrest of all Polish officers registered in the oblasts of western 
Ukraine was carried out according to the Politburo decision of 3 De- 
cember 1939 (doc. 31), which ratified Beria's order to this effect issued 
two days earlier. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 34 • 

Ivan Serov's Report to Beria on the Arrest of Polish Regular Officers 
in the Oblasts of Western Ukraine 241 
14 December 1939, Kiev 

To the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, USSR 
GB Commissar 1st Rank Com. Beria 

I hereby report the results of the operation carried out on 10 December 
1939 to arrest regular officers of the former Polish Army in the oblasts of 
western Ukraine: 

Tarnopol Oblast 

143 men have been arrested. 5 1 of these are reserve officers. The arrested 
include 5 colonels, 3 lieutenant colonels, 14 majors, 65 captains, and 56 

Up to 10 December 1939, 153 men were arrested as participants in var- 
ious c-r organizations. 

Stanislavov Oblast 

50 have been arrested. 7 of these are reserve officers. The arrested include 
1 general, 2 colonels, 8 majors, 12 captains, and 27 lieutenants. 

Up to 10 December 1939, 140 men were arrested as participants in var- 
ious c-r organizations. 

Lutsk Oblast 

151 men were arrested on 10 December 1939. 35 of these are reserve offi- 
cers. The arrested include 26 captains, 2 majors, 32 lieutenants, and 91 
2nd lieutenants. 
Up to 10 December 1939, 65 men were arrested. 

Lvov Oblast 

226 men were arrested on 10 December 1939. The arrested include 5 gen- 
erals, 23 colonels, 42 majors, 28 lieutenant colonels, 61 captains, 22 lieu- 
tenants, and 46 2nd lieutenants. 
Up to 10 December 1939, 129 men were arrested. 

570 men were arrested on 10 December 1939 in the oblasts of western 

Up to 10 December 1939, 487 men were arrested as participants in var- 
ious c-r organizations. 

A total of 1,057 former officers of the Polish Army were arrested. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


In addition, 3,878 officers, taken prisoner during the operation in west- 
ern Ukraine, are being detained in the Starobelsk camps. 242 

UkSSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 3rd Rank Serov 

Soprunenko's instruction ordered the separation of officers and po- 
licemen from rank-and-file POWs. Remaining rank-and-file soldiers 
and NCOs were to be sent home, and information was requested on 
wounded German military personnel. 

• 35 • 

Soprunenko's Instruction Sent by Direct Line to the Head of the UkSSR NKVD 
Administration of Correctional Labor Colonies, Aleksandr Zverev, 
on Dispatching Recuperated POW Officers to Various Destinations 
15 December 1939, Moscow* 

Top Secret 
Kiev NKVD UITK to Zverev 
Note [for] Transmission [by Direct Line] 

Dispatch recuperated prisoner-of-war officers of the former Polish 
Army under convoy [to] Kozelsk camp, Kozelsk Station, Dzerzhinsky 
Railway. If among these officers there are officers of the police or gen- 
darmerie, they should be sent [to] Ostashkov camp, Ostashkov Station, 
Kalinin Railway. 243 

You may dispatch the officers [in] a vagonzak [railway car], which you 
are to request [from] the Kiev brigade of convoy troops. 

Send the rank-and-file soldiers and NCOs of the former Polish Army 
[from] the territory of Poland now part of Germany under convoy [to] 
Brest-Litovsk [Brzesc-Litewski], [to] the Fourth Army transfer point for 
handing them over to the German authorities. Send home the prisoner-of- 
war privates and junior officers of the former Polish Army who are resi- 
dents of western Ukraine and western Belorussia. Inform me of these de- 
partures. At the same time, immediately send by telegraph the surnames 
and detailed basic data on all soldiers and officers of the German Army be- 

* Handwritten notes on the document: "To Comrade Khudiakova — Verify from replies 
whether everything has been done. ( Inhcrman. 5 January [1940]." And, "To Comrade Khu- 
diakova — For those waiting. Makliarsky. r5 December." "Those waiting" may refer to the 
Germans in Soviet hospitals. 

1 02 Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

ing held [in] hospitals, indicating the circumstances and dates of cap- 
ture 244 

Soprunenko [no.] 2068534 

Soprunenko probably wrote his 29 December 1939 report on Be- 
ria's instruction, preparatory to the special investigations that Beria or- 
dered in Ostashkov camp (doc. 3 7), as well as in the two officer camps. 
Officers were subject neither to repatriation to western Belorussia or 
western Ukraine nor to exchange with the Germans. 

• 36 • 

Soprunenko's Report on the Number of Polish POW Officers, Police, 
and Gendarmes, Inhabitants of Western Ukraine, Western Belorussia, 
and German Poland, Being Held in the NKVD POW Camps 
29 December 1939, Moscow 

Top Secret 

. Total officer contingent detained in the camps 
Of these: 

a) residents of the territory included in Germany 

b) residents of western Belorussia 
and western Ukraine 

2. Total police and gendarmes detained in the camps 
Of these: 

a) residents of the territory included in Germany 

b) residents of western Belorussia 
and western Ukraine 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major (Soprunenko) 

!,488 people 
;,8oo people 
.,688 people 
1,176 people 
[,600 people 
.,576 people 

Beria's instruction to Soprunenko of 31 December 1939 on his de- 
parture to Ostashkov camp heralded a new round of intensive interro- 
gations of Polish POWs in the three special camps. The goal was to ex- 
tract intelligence information and prepare cases for submission to the 
Osoboe Soveshchanie [OSO — NKVD Special Board]. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 37 • 

Beria's Instruction to Soprunenko as Head of the USSR NKVD 
-hkov Camp 246 
3 1 December 1939, Moscow 

No. 5866/b 
Top Secret 

To the Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Com. Major Soprunenko 

Copy: To the Head of the UNKVD, Kalinin Oblast 
Colonel Com. Tokarev 

I command you to leave for the town of Ostashkov and conduct the fol- 
lowing operation: 

1. Familiarize yourself with the work status of the group of USSR 
NKVD investigators preparing cases against prisoner-of-war policemen 
from the former Poland for a report to the NKVD Special Board. 247 

Take the necessary measures to restructure the work of the investigation 
group in such a way that the drawing up of investigation cases against all 
the imprisoned prisoner-of-war police can be completed during the month 
of January. 248 

2. Separate out from the entire mass of prisoner-of-war police the docu- 
ment files of individuals that are of operational interest, and make a thor- 
ough investigation of these cases in order to expose all their contacts both 
inside the USSR and abroad, as well as [their knowledge of] agents of the 
former Polish intelligence that have been planted at one time or another in 
the USSR. 249 

3. The following comrades are being sent with you to carry out this op- 

1. N. R Bykov — investigator, GB lieutenant; 

2. A. M. Marisov — investigator, GB lieutenant; 

3. N. K. Kleshchev — investigator, GB 2nd lieutenant; 

4. V. I. Senkin — investigator, GB lieutenant; 

5. V. A. Maklakov — investigator, GB 2nd lieutenant; 

6. M. S. Galafeeev — investigator, GB sergeant; 

7. N. A. Kiselev — investigator, GB lieutenant; 

8. P. N. Volchenkov — junior investigator, GB sergeant; 

9. A. Z. Fedonin — investigator, GB lieutenant; 

10. V. P. Shishkin — investigator, GB 2nd lieutenant; 

who must put themselves at the disposal of the head of the Ostashkov 
camp investigative group, GB Lieutenant Com. Belolipetsky. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

4. Simultaneously, you should, together with those under your com- 
mand — Senior Operational Plenipotentiary Officer of the 2nd Depart- 
ment of GEU [Main Economic Administration], GB Lieutenant Com. 
Kholichev, and Senior Operational Plenipotentiary Officer of the 2nd De- 
partment of the GEU, GB Lieutenant Com. Logunkov — familiarize your- 
selves with the status of the agent-informant work being conducted by the 
OO [Special Section] of Ostashkov camp according to USSR NKVD Di- 
rective no. 4/56190 of 8 October 1939. 250 

Ascertain the degree to which the agency and information work among 
prisoner-of-war policemen is secure, and render practical assistance on the 
spot to set up work with the agency information network. 

In so doing, pay attention to the value of the existing informants' work 
and the degree of its reliability in providing a comprehensive picture of the 
moods of all categories of POWs. 

5. Verify the work of the camp's OO in exposing the outside connec- 
tions of POWs, the nature of these connections, and the presence of the 
agency both among the service personnel and in the environment outside 
the camp. 

6. Organize the work of the camp's evidence-recording apparatus, [and] 
instruct the workers precisely on the data on prisoner-of-war policemen, 
ensuring the high quality of the data, the receipt of precise and clear an- 
swers from POWs to the questions on the [personal] questionnaire, 251 
and the exposure in the course of interrogation of all the connections of 
the POWs, both in the USSR and abroad. 

7. Ascertain the status of camp security and of discipline among the 
POWs, and take any necessary measures to exclude the possibility of es- 
capes by POWs from the camp and their violation of camp order [regula- 

Bring all malicious violators of the camp regulations to account; arrest 
those caught attempting to escape, and bring them to trial. 
Report on the results of the work done by you. 252 

USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 1st Rank 
L. Beria 

Policeman Szczepan Olejnik's indictment is in the only personal file 
found thus far for any of the 6,361 prisoners held in Ostashkov as of 
16 March 1940. This file survived because it was accidentally sent 
from Ostashkov to Griazovets camp, where it was forwarded to the 
UPV. Olejnik was indicted under Article 58, Paragraph 13, of the So- 
viet Criminal Code pertaining to c-r activity in the Russian Empire 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


(which collapsed in March 1917) or during the Russian Civil War 
(1918-1922). Born in 1911, he was too young to participate in such 
activity in either period but was condemned nonetheless. He was mur- 
dered with the other Ostashkov prisoners in the spring of 1940. 

• 38 • 

Conclusion of the Indictment in the Case of POW Szczepan Olejnik 253 
6 January 1940, Ostashkov 

I approve 
Head of the Special Section 
Ostashkov NKVD Camp 
GB [2nd] Lieutenant Korytov 

Conclusion of Indictment 
In Investigation Case no. 649 
Indicting Olejnik, Stefan, son of Stefan (Polish: Szczepan) 
under Art. 58, Par. 13, of the RSFSR 
Criminal Code 

6 January 1940 

On the 29th day of December 1939, 1, Section Head of the Special De- 
partment of the NKVD of the 7th Army, GB 2nd Lieutenant Milovidov, 
having examined Investigation Case no. 649 indicting the prisoner of war 
of the former Polish state Olejnik, Szczepan, born in 19 11, a native of [the 
village of] Tarnovka [Tarnowka], Volhynian [Wolyh] Gubernia [Prov- 
ince], a Pole by nationality, for the crime stipulated in Art. 58, Par. 13, of 
the [Criminal Code of the] RSFSR, 254 and having found that Olejnik, be- 
ing in the former Polish state from 1936 to 1939, served in the police in 
Borshchevo [Borszczow], where he conducted an active struggle against 
the revolutionary movement, have resolved: 

to send Investigation Case no. 649 indicting prisoner of war S. S. Olej- 
nik to the NKVD Special Board for examination. 

Director, Special Section of the NKVD GUGB [Main 
Administration for State Security], Special Department, 7th 
Army, 2nd Lieutenant 

Agreed: Senior Investigator of the Investigations Department of 



106 Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

Information: The accused Olejnik is being held in Ostashkov 
NKVD camp, Kalinin Oblast. 
Correct: ( Signature )* 

Polish prisoners continued to demand their rights. The colonels' pe- 
tition from Starobelsk illustrates their living conditions and lists their 

• 39 • 

Petition to Soviet Authorities from a Group of Polish POW Colonels to Defini 
Their Status and Observe International Standards for the Treatment of POWs 2 
7 January 1940, Starobelsk 

Town of Starobelsk 
Colonels' Group 

3 2 Kirov Street 
7 January 1940 
I. General Matters 

We request that you clarify for us the relationship of the USSR govern- 
ment toward us, specifically: 

1. Are we considered prisoners of war? 

If so, we ask to be treated according to the rules accepted by all govern- 
ments regarding POWs, and above all: 

a) give us the possibility of freely contacting the embassy accredited to 
the USSR government that has taken upon itself the protection of the in- 
terests of Polish citizens and, consequently, of POWs as well; 256 

b) make contact with the Red Cross in order to give us the possibility of 
corresponding with our families who are outside the frontiers of the 
USSR; 257 

c) publish a list of POWs so that our families can learn where we are; 

d) release those in the reserves who were not mobilized and those who 
are retired; 

e) grant us an appropriate monetary allowance, as is due to us, for our 
immediate personal needs because, for example, our clothing and foot- 

* The Russian version has "illegible signature"; the Polish version has a handwritten note: 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


wear are becoming useless, but we do not possess the necessary material 
means [money to replace them], 
z. If we have been arrested? 

If so, we ask that you inform us of the crimes for which we have been de- 
prived of our freedom and present us with formal charges. 
3. If we are detained (interned): 

We request that you explain to us what actions of ours provoked this re- 
striction of our freedom, especially since we were detained on Polish terri- 

II. We request that you explain why the old and the infirm, who had 
nothing to do with the recent war, are being detained in the camp, and we 
ask that they be released to go home. 

III. The issue of correspondence with our families has not yet been settled. 
Normal human feelings demand that you enable us finally to contact 

our families and that they, in turn, can learn of our fate. 

We request that you issue [the following] instructions: 

Apply no restrictions to the correspondence [of those] conducting 
searches for their families. 

Each person is to have the right to write a letter or postcard at least once 
a week, rather than once a month. 258 

Inform the sender if a letter is to be held back. 

Give us the right to receive packages from our families with food, un- 
derwear, and other things that we need. 
Give us writing paper and envelopes. 

We request that you clarify whether our letters have gone to German- 
occupied territory and, if not, [that you] give us the opportunity to write 
them through the Red Cross. 

IV. Medical assistance is inadequate. 

In practice, it is limited to supplying [us] only with the simplest medica- 
tions. Many officers are still awaiting treatment for their eyes, teeth, etc; in 
particular, we are painfully aware of the impossibility of providing appro- 
priate diets for the sick. 

In the event of illness of a more serious nature, there have been difficul- 
ties with sending the patient immediately to the hospital. 

The cramped and damp quarters on the ground floor are having a dis- 
astrous effect on the health of the officers, especially since the food ration 
is barely sufficient for people who are not engaged in physical work, 
whereas we are all being made to perform heavy labor in the daily prepa- 
ration of food. 259 

V. On our visits to the cinema, we request that we not be shown films or 
episodes that might insult our national feelings or the honor of our home- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

We request also, especially, that lower-ranking officials address us in an 
appropriate manner. Although we are POWs, we nonetheless remain sol- 
diers and retain our military ranks. 

VI. At the time when Polish zlotys were in circulation, we were not 
given an opportunity to exchange our money for rubles or to send it to our 
families, and in this manner we and our families have been deprived of all 
means [of subsistence]. In addition, it should be said that the existence of 
our families was supported by our labor, and here in the camp, despite our 
being deprived of monetary funds, we are required to pay in rubles for the 
satisfaction of our most essential needs (shoe repair, purchase of fats [beef 
or pork drippings or bacon fats], etc.). 

We request: 

[That you] exchange our zlotys for rubles and keep us steadily supplied 
with money in the form of an advance on the money due to us for our par- 
ticipation in the war. 

[That you] allow us to send from the camp, and our families to send to 
the camp, zlotys as well as rubles and other currency. 

VII. Finally, we ask that you grant the following [requests]: 

Allow us to organize in groups for foreign-language lessons, and make 
it possible for us to purchase the necessary notebooks and aids, which we 
could order from Lvov. 

Order a regular and frequent supply of books for reading (fiction, sci- 
entific, and military-historical) in various languages. 

Allow us to take walks outside the camp in appropriate weather at least 
three times a week. 

Allow us to meet with relatives and comrades who are in the main camp 
and on Volodarskaia Street. 260 

Give us a list of those [held] in Starobelsk camp so that we can search 
for relatives. 

Return the things and money taken from us. 

Provide us with equipment for sports and indoor games. 

Give me and the man in charge of our housekeeping the opportunity to 
speak at least once a week with you or the camp's deputy housekeeping di- 
rector 261 

[Copy] Verified as correct: Administration Secretary 
Militia 2nd Lieutenant (Bashlykov) 

By 1 February most of the POW cases in Ostashkov camp had been 
processed, with the remainder to be completed in a week's time. Inves- 
tigations were also taking place in the Kozelsk and Starobelsk camps, 
but without instructions to prepare cases for the OSO. 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 40 • 

lipetsky to Beria 

on the Conclusion of the Investigation and Transfer of POW Cases 
from Ostashkov Camp to the OSO 262 
i February 1940, Ostashkov 

Top Secret 
No. 4888 
Received 1 February 1940 
From Ostashkov 

To People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Com. Beria 

The investigation [of] the former Polish police detained [at] Ostashkov 
camp is complete; 6,050 cases have been drawn up. 263 I have begun send- 
ing cases [to] the OSO. We will finish sending them on the 8th of February. 
The measures essential for the investigation have been completed. 

Subject to return. NKVD USSR. 264 

In February 1940, the UPV was preparing to "clear out" the POW 
camps. Soprunenko's suggestions to Beria indicate that he did not en- 
visage the extermination of all the prisoners in the Kozelsk and Staro- 
belsk camps, but suggested that cases be drawn up against those be- 
longing to certain categories. 

1 1 0 Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 41 • 

NKVD UPV Proposals to Beria on Clearing Out Starobelsk and Kozelsk Camps 26 
20 February 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 

To USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 1st Rank Comrade L. R Beria * 

In order to clear Starobelsk and Kozelsk camps, I request your decision 
on carrying out the following measures: 

1. From the officer contingent, release to their homes all those [who are] 
seriously ill, total invalids, tuberculosis patients, and older men sixty years 
old and above, who number about 300 men. 

2. From among the reserve officers and residents of the western oblasts 
of the UkSSR and BSSR, release to their homes the farmers, physicians, en- 
gineers and technicians, [and] teachers for whom there are no compromis- 
ing materials. According to preliminary data, 400-500 men may be re- 
leased from this category. 266 

3. I request your permission to draw up cases against the officers of 
KOP, workers in law courts and prosecutors' offices, landowners, activists 
in the POV [P.O.W.] and Streltsy [Strzelcy] parties, 267 officers of the 2nd 
Department of the former Polish General Staff, 268 [and] information offi- 
cers (about 400 men) for examination by the OSO. 

It would be desirable to conduct the investigation of these categories in 
the People's Commissariats of Internal Affairs of the BSSR and UkSSR or, 
if this is impossible, to concentrate all those specified at Ostashkov camp, 
where the investigation could be conducted. 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major P. Soprunenko 

Commissar of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Regimental Commissar Nekhoroshev 

The categories of prisoners listed below were moved out of the 
camps to NKVD prisons. They, too, would be subject to the death 
penalty under the Politburo decision of 5 March 1940 (doc. 47). 

* Handwritten across the page from left to right in blue pencil: "Comrade Merkulov. Dis- 
cuss this with me. L. Beria. 20 February 1940. Com. Soprunenko. V. Merkulov. 21 Febru- 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 42 • 

USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Vsevolod Merkulov 
ries of Prisoners 
Detained in Starobelsk, Kozelsk, and Ostashkov Camps 
22 February 1940, Moscow 

No. 641/b 
Top Secret 

To the Head of the UPV, Major Com. Soprunenko 

To UkSSR NKVD GB Commissar 3rd Rank Com. Serov 

To the Head of the Voroshilovgrad UNKVD, 

GB Captain Com. Cherevatenko 
To the Head Smolensk Oblast UNKVD, GB Captain Com. Panfilov 
To the Head of the Kalinin Oblast UNKVD, Colonel Com. Tokarev 

According to the instruction of People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
Comrade Beria, I direct that all former prison guards, intelligence agents, 
provocateurs, [military] settlers, judicial employees, landowners, mer- 
chants, and large property holders detained in Starobelsk, Kozelsk, and 
Ostashkov NKVD camps are to be moved to prisons, transferring them to 
the control of NKVD organs. 269 

All existing materials available on them are to be transferred to the in- 
vestigative units of the UNKVD for the conduct of the investigation. 

Additional instructions will be given on the procedure for further action 
in these cases. 270 

Report on the number of arrested [prisoners] transferred. 

USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 3rd Rank 
V. Merkulov 

At the end of February 1940, the NKVD UPV reported on the na- 
tionality of the officers in the three special camps. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 43 • 

NKVD UPV Report on the Nationality of Polish POW Officers 
Held in Starobelsk and Kozelsk Camps 
28 February 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 

Report on the National Composition of the Prisoner-of-War Officers 
from the Former Polish Army Detained in NKVD Camps 

Starobelsk camp 

Total officers detained in the camp 
Of these: 

a) Poles 

b) Jews 

c) Ukrainians 

d) Germans 

e) Hungarians 

f ) Lithuanians 

g) Latvians 

h) Bulgarians 

Kozelsk camp 

Total officers detained in the camp 4,486 people 2 " 
Of these: 

a) Poles 4,347 people 

b) Jews 89 " 

c) Belorussians 23 " 

d) Germans 11 " 

e) Lithuanians 8 " 

f ) Ukrainians 6 " 

g) Czechs 1 " 

h) Georgians 1 " 273 

Total officers held in Starobelsk and Kozelsk camps 8,394 people 2 " 
Of these: 

a) Poles 8,175 people 

b) Jews 160 " 275 

c) Belorussians 23 " 

d) Germans 12 " 

e) Ukrainians 10 " 

f ) Lithuanians 9 " 

3,908 people" 

3,828 people 
71 " 
4 " 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


g) Hungarians : 

h) Latvians : 

i) Bulgarians ] 
j) Czechs : 
k) Georgians : 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major (Soprunenko) 

At this time, the NKVD UPV was ordered to provide reports on the 
number of police and gendarmes held in the camps. The vast majority 
of these prisoners were held in Ostashkov camp. 

• 44 • 

Soprunenko 's Report on the Number of Polish Police and Gendar 
Held in NKVD POW Camps 
z March 1940, Moscow 


Report on Police and Gendarmes Detained in NKVD 
Prisoner-of-War Camps 

The following are detained in the camps: 

a) officers of the police and gendarmerie 

b) junior officers of the police and gendarmerie 

c) rank-and-file police and gendarmes 

d) prison guards 

e) intelligence agents and provocateurs 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Major P. Soprunenko 

The date of this deportation decision, 2 March 1940, may be con- 
nected with Stalin's decision to shoot the prisoners held in the three 
special camps, Kozelsk, Ostashkov, and Starobelsk (point 2). Accord- 
ing to Natalia Lebedeva the decision was probably made at the Stalin- 
Beria meeting on 28 February, and Beria's letter/resolution to Stalin to 
shoot the Polish prisoners of war was formulated on 3 March 1940 
(see doc. 47). 

282 people 

780 " 
5,008 " 

114 " 
8 " 
6,192 people" 

1 14 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

■ 45 • 

Excerpt from Protocol no. 13, Decisions of the Politburo: Decision 
on Guarding the State Borders of the UkSSR and BSSR 
2 March 1940, Moscow 

2 March 1940 277 
Top Secret 
Special folder 

114. On Guarding the State Borders in the Western Oblasts 
of the UkSSR and BSSR 
Approve the following proposals 
by Comrades Beria and Khrushchev: 278 

1. Require the Councils of People's Commissars of the UkSSR and BSSR 
within two months' time: 

a) to deport residents from an 800-meter border zone, with the exception 
of the towns of Peremyshl [Przemysl], Zaleshchiki [Zaleszczyki], Lisko, 
Ugnuv [Uhnow], Sokal, Ustilug [Uscilug], Druia [Druja], Druskeniki [Dru- 
skienniki], and Novogrud [Nowogrod Wotyhski] 

b) the removal from the 800-meter zone of the residents of the towns, 
enumerated in point "a," to be carried out on the basis of the materials 
[held by] the NKVDs of the UkSSR and the BSSR 

c) to clear the 800-meter border zone of all structures belonging to the 
deported residents 

2. Direct the USSRNKVD to [do the following]: 

a) by 1 5 April of this year, deport to the rayons [districts] of the Kazakh 
SSR for a term of ten years all the families of the repressed and those who 
are now in prisoner-of-war camps, former officers of the Polish Army, po- 
lice, prison guards, gendarmes, intelligence agents, former landowners, 
manufacturers, and prominent officials in the former Polish state appara- 
tus, numbering 22,000-25,000 families. 279 

b) arrest the most malicious members of the families subject to deporta- 
tion with respect to whom the NKVD organs possess materials about their 
anti-Soviet work in the past or present, with subsequent preparation of 
their cases for examination by the OSO. 280 

c) deport all prostitutes who were registered with the organs of the for- 
mer Polish police and now continue to work in prostitution. 

d) within twenty days' time, to work out and submit for approval to the 
USSR Council of People's Commissars a procedure for the deportation of 
the families specified in point "a." 

3. Establish that the real estate, trade, and industrial enterprises of the 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


deported families enumerated in point 2 are subject to confiscation and 
that the latter have the right either to sell or to take with them to their 
place of deportation all the remaining property, not exceeding 100 kilo- 
grams for each family member. 

4. Transfer all housing and commercial buildings standing empty after 
the deportation to the disposition of the local Soviet organs. The UkSSR 
and BSSR Councils of People's Commissars are to ensure their preserva- 
tion, and that they are properly utilized, first of all, for the settlement of 
RKKA servicemen, party and Soviet workers, and those sent to work in 
the western oblasts of Ukraine and Belorussia. 

5. Forbid individuals (refugees) who have arrived on the territory of the 
western oblasts of Ukraine and Belorussia since the start of military ac- 
tions in Poland (September 1939), and who have expressed the desire to 
remain on the territory of the Soviet Union, to reside in the 100-kilometer 
border zone for a term of five years. When issuing passports, issue to this 
category of citizens passports with the appropriate notations. 281 

6. Instruct the USSR NKVD that refugees who have expressed the desire 
to leave the Soviet Union for territory now occupied by the Germans, and 
who have not been accepted by the German government [that] in accor- 
dance with the current agreement, [they shall] be sent within one month's 
time from the western oblasts of Ukraine and Belorussia to the northern 
districts of the Soviet Union to be utilized in logging and other opera- 
tions 282 

7. Within twenty days' time, the USSR NKVD shall work out and sub- 
mit for approval by the USSR Council of People's Commissars the proce- 
dure for the eviction and deportation of the refugees specified in points 5 
and 6. 

8. Within twenty days' time, the USSR NKVD shall submit to the USSR 
Council of Ministers estimates of the essential expenses involved in carry- 
ing out the proposed measures. 

Copies sent to: Com. Beria; CC Ukrainian Communist Party (b); CC 
Belorussian Communist Party (b); Com. Khlomov 

Secretary of the CC CPSU(b) 
J. Stalin 

[Here, a facsimile signature, "I. V. Stalin," embossed with a 
round, red seal and the legend "All-Union Communist Party 
of Bolsheviks," with "CC" in the inner circle of the seal.] 

In early March 1940 the head of the Special Section in Ostashkov 
camp, Grigory Korytov, participated in a conference called by So- 
prunenko at the 1st Special Department of the NKVD, Moscow. The 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

conferees discussed how to arrange the transport of Ostashkov prison- 
ers to labor camps after their sentencing by the OSO [Special Board]; 
they assumed that the destination was Kamchatka. Toward the end of 
Korytov's report, where he mentions that 600 of the 6,005 cases had 
been examined by the NKVD OSO thus far, resulting in sentences of 
three, five, or eight years in Kamchatka, he writes: "Further examina- 
tion has been suspended by the People's Commissar [Beria] for the time 
being." (A meeting with the commanders of the Kozelsk and Starobelsk 
camps was held in Moscow on 15 March.) 

• 46 • 

Report by Grigory Korytov to the Head of the Special Department 
of Kalinin Oblast UNKVD, Vasily Pavlov, on the Discussion in the NKVD 
1st Special Department about "Clearing Out" the Ostashkov POW Camp 283 
No later than 4 March 1940, Ostashkov 284 

Com. Pavlov! 

I was called to Moscow, as I have already informed you, by a telegram 
from the head of the UPV, Com. Soprunenko. Upon my arrival, Com. So- 
prunenko stated that he had summoned me at the request of the head of 
the 1st Special Department concerning the question of organizing the dis- 
patch of POWs after decisions have been issued by the OSO. 

The conference took place at the 1st Special Department and lasted over 
the course of two days. 

Attending the conference besides the leadership of the 1st Special De- 
partment were the head of Convoy Troops, a GULAG representative, a 
representative of the UPV, and several others. 

The principal issues were: 

1. Preparation in the camp for the dispatch of those convicted. 

2. Where to announce the decision of the OSO. 

3. Where to hand over those convicted to the convoy: in the camp or at 
the train station. 

4. Operational servicing en route. 

5. Housekeeping service [provisions]. 

At the beginning of the conference, I was asked to express the view of 
the [Ostashkov] Special Section on how we would view the organization 
of the dispatch. 

Considering the mood of the POWs and their number, and especially 
bearing in mind that this entire contingent represents an active c-r force, I 
expressed my thoughts as follows: 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


i. Prepare the dispatch in the same way as we prepared earlier to send 
them to Germany and to the districts of our territory, i.e., observing the 
territorial principle, which can give the convicted [prisoners] reason to 
think that they are being prepared for dispatch home. 285 

z. In order to avoid various types of excesses and disturbances, in no in- 
stance announce the decision of the OSO here [at Ostashkov], but an- 
nounce it [after the POWs' arrival] in the camp where they will be held. If 
during the journey questions come from the POWs as to where they are 
being taken, the convoy can tell them only: "To work in another camp." 

3. Deliver the convicted men to the convoy as before, here in the camp. 

4. With regard to operational servicing en route, I asked the conference 
to free the [Ostashkov] Special Section from this responsibility, consider- 
ing the small number of staff in the camp's Special Section, the lack of staff 
in the okrug [military district] Special Department, and the fact that each 
batch of convicted men should be traveling to its destination for at least a 
month and that there will be four such batches in all. 286 

Consequently, we would need 8 or more men for the operations contin- 
gent. Operational servicing should be assigned to another operations de- 

All this was debated for a long time, and I had to defend my point of 
view and justify it thoroughly. Finally, everyone agreed with this, and in 
this spirit the organizational plan for the [POW] dispatch was written and 
handed over for approval to Deputy People's Commissar Merkulov. 

The head of the Convoy Troops took the operational servicing upon 

How soon will we be clearing out the camps[?] 

Of the 6,005 cases we have submitted [to OSO], 600 have been exam- 
ined so far, with sentences of three or five or eight years (Kamchatka). 287 
Further examination has been suspended by the People's Commissar [Be- 
ria] for the time being. 

But it is rumored that in March we must basically clear out the camps 
and prepare to receive the Finns. 288 

There is an instruction from the People's Commissar to put certain cat- 
egories of POWs in local prisons. On this account, the head of the Kalinin 
Oblast [NKVD] Administration has a directive dated Z9 February 1940, 
no. Z5/1869, with which I ask that you familiarize yourself. 289 

Head of the Special Section of Ostashkov Prisoner-of-War Camp 
GB znd Lieutenant (Korytov) 

The Politburo resolution of 5 March 1940 is the key evidence prov- 
ing the Soviet leadership's responsibility for the massacre in spring 
1940 of 14,465 Polish prisoners of war held in the three special camps 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

as well as 7,300 prisoners held in NKVD jails in Belorussia and 
Ukraine (see Part II). Soviet responsibility was concealed and vigor- 
ously denied for half a century until it was admitted in the Soviet press 
on 13 April 1990 (doc. 117) when Russian President Mikhail Gor- 
bachev also handed the NKVD spring 1940 camp departure lists to 
President Wojciech Jaruzelski of Poland. However, it was not until 14 
October 1992 that, because of a political decision by Russian Presi- 
dent Boris Yeltsin, the Politburo resolution was published in the Mos- 
cow press. On the same day, it was also delivered to President Lech 
Walesa in Warsaw, together with documents on the Soviet cover-up of 
the crime (doc. 119). 

• 47 • 

Beria Memorandum to Joseph Stalin Proposing the Execution 
of the Polish Officers, Gendarmes, Police, Military Settlers, and Others 
in the Three Special POW Camps, Along with Those Held in the Prisons 
of the Western Regions of Ukraine and Belorussia, Accepted by the Politburo 
5 March 1940, Moscow 290 

No. 794/B 
Top Secret 

Central Committee of the All Union Communist Party (b) 
To Comrade Stalin 

In the USSR NKVD prisoner-of-war camps and prisons of the western 
regions of Ukraine and Belorussia, there are at present a large number of 
former officers of the Polish Army, former workers in the Polish police and 
intelligence organs, members of Polish nationalist c-r parties, participants 
in exposed c-r insurgent organizations, refugees, and others. They are all 
sworn enemies of Soviet power, filled with hatred for the Soviet system of 

Prisoner-of-war officers and police in the camps are attempting to con- 
tinue their c-r work and are conducting anti-Soviet agitation. Each one of 
them is just waiting to be released in order to be able to enter actively into 
the battle against Soviet power. 

The NKVD organs in the western oblasts of Ukraine and Belorussia 
have exposed several c-r insurgent organizations. In all these c-r organiza- 
tions, an active guiding role is played by former officers of the former Pol- 
ish Army and former police and gendarmes. 291 

Prisoners of an Undeclared War 


Among the detained refugees and those who have violated the state bor- 
der, a significant number of individuals who are participants in c-r espi- 
onage and insurgent organizations have also been uncovered. 292 

The prisoner-of-war camps are holding a total (not counting the sol- 
diers and the NCOs) of 14,736 former officers, officials, landowners, po- 
lice, gendarmes, prison guards, [military] settlers, and intelligence agents, 
who are more than 97 percent Polish by nationality. 
Among them are: 

generals, colonels, and lieutenant colonels 295 

majors and captains 2,080 

lieutenants, 2nd lieutenants, and ensigns 6,049 

police officers, junior officers, border guards, and gendarmerie 1,030 
rank-and-file police, gendarmes, prison guards, 

and intelligence agents 5 , 1 3 8 

officials, landowners, priests, and [military] settlers r44 

In the prisons of the western oblasts of Ukraine and Belorussia a total of 
18,632 arrested people (including 10,685 Poles) 293 are being held, includ- 

former officers 1,207 

former police, intelligence agents, and gendarmes 5,141 

spies and saboteurs 347 

former landowners, factory owners, and officials 465 
members of various c-r and insurgent 

organizations and of various c-r elements 5,345 

refugees 6,r27 

Based on the fact that they are all hardened, irremediable enemies of So- 
viet power, the NKVD USSR believes it is essential: 

I. To direct the NKVD USSR to: * 

1) examine the cases of the 14,700 former Polish officers, officials, 
landowners, police, intelligence agents, gendarmes, [military] settlers, and 
prison guards who are now in the prisoner-of-war camps 

2) and also examine the cases of those who have been arrested and are 
in the prisons of the western oblasts of Ukraine and Belorussia, numbering 

II, 000, members of various c-r espionage and sabotage organizations, 
former landowners, manufacturers, former Polish officers, officials, and 

* The phrase in italics was underlined by hand. Parts I — III of Beria's memorandum were 
used in the decision of the Politburo of the ( ' ( Committee as formulated in points I-1I1. 
which were evidently drawn up by Stalin's secretary; see KDi/ziy; KDZi/ziy. 


Prisoners of an Undeclared War 

refugees, [and] using the special procedure, apply to them the supreme 
punishment, [execution by] shooting. 

II. Examine [these] cases without calling in the arrested men and without 
presenting [them with] the charges, the decision about the end of the in- 
vestigation, or the document of indictment, according to the following 

a) [examine the cases] against individuals in the prisoner-of-war camps 
on the basis of information presented by the USSR NKVD UPV 

b) [examine the cases] against individuals who have been arrested on 
the basis of information from files presented by the UkSSR NKVD and the 

III. Assign the examination of cases and the carrying out of decisions to a 
troika [threesome] consisting of Comrades Bcria, * Merkulov, Kobulov, 1 ' 
and Bashtakov (Head of ist Special Department NKVD USSR). 294 

USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
L. Beria* 

* Crossed out by hand in blue pencil. 

+ "kobulov" was added by hand after "Merkulov"; both were written above the line in blue 
pencil, evidently by Stalin. 

* On the document, written across the text: "Za" [For] with the signatures "I. V. Stalin, K. 
Voroshilov, A. Mikoyan" in blue pencil and "V. Molotov" in regular pencil (page i i. 

In the margin, evidently written by Stalin's secretary: Kalinin — za, Kaganovich — za" 
(page i). 

Before point i: the symbo 

In the margin: "Special folder. USSR NKVD question" (page 3). 

Below Beria's signature on the document, on the left side of page: "Vm Beria. [Implement 
Beria]." Below that by hand: "Protocol 13/144." Below that: "5 March 1940" (page 4 of the 
facsimile in KDZi/zi6, p. 475; KD1/216, p. 388). 

View of Katyn Forest from the Dnieper [Dnepr] River with the NKVD 
dacha visible through the trees. Spring-summer 1943. 

The NKVD dacha, called Dnjepr-Schlosschen [Little Castle on the Dnieper] 
by the Germans. It stood 300 meters from the execution site in Katyn 
Forest. Spring-summer 1943. 

Oblique view of disinterred corpses at Katyn photographed from a low- 
flying German airplane, April 1943. 

The bound hands of a murdered officer showing that the rope bit deep 
into his flesh. Katyn, 1943. 

A German officer with Allied officers brought in from prisoner-of-war 
camps in Germany, standing over an opened burial pit. Katyn, 1943. 

A German officer speaking to a group of European journalists at the edge 
of a burial pit. Katyn, 1943. 

Cleaned-up shoulder straps showing the remains to be those of a major 
from the Jozef Pifsudski Cavalry Regiment. Katyn, 1943. 

Members of the International Medical Commission at Katyn in 1943: Dr. 
Ferenc Orsos of Budapest University examining the remains of a Polish 
prisoner of war, observed by Dr. A. Saxen of Helsinki University. 

Members of the International Medical Commission at Katyn in 1943: 
Professor Vincenzo Mario Palmieri of Naples University (left) with 
Professor Francois Naville of Geneva University. 

Top, Several deformed bullets and one original bullet found in the skulls 
of murdered Polish officers at Katyn. Bottom, Several partly corroded 
shell casings found in the Katyn burial pits. 

Two exhumed skulls from a Katyn burial pit. The left one has three exit 
holes. The right one has two exit holes and a bullet still lodged in it from 
a third shot. The large size of the anterior exit hole is caused by the vic- 
tim's having been shot from behind, in the occipital region at the base of 
the skull. 

Three men praying at the edge of a Katyn burial pit, 16 April 1943. Left 
to right, Prelate Stanislaw Jasinski (sent by the Polish Metropolitan Arch- 
bishop of Krakow, Adam Stefan Sapieha); Kazimierz Skarzyriski, secre- 
tary of the Polish Red Cross Executive Board, Warsaw; and Dr. Jerzy 
Wodzinowski of the Polish Red Cross, Warsaw. 

Certificate in the name of General Mieczyslaw Smorawihski for the Sil- 
ver Cross of the Virtuti Militari, the Polish decoration for valor, dated 
Warsaw, i May 1933. The general was murdered at Katyn. 

French Vichy officers accompanied by a German officer at Katyn, spring 
1943. The man second from the right, in the braided cap of an air force 
general, is Count Ferdinand de Brinon (1892-1947), then French am- 
bassador to Berlin, who was visiting French volunteers fighting alongside 
the Germans in Russia. In the background are the graves of Generals 
Mieczyslaw Smorawihski and Bronislaw Bohatyrewicz [Bohaterewicz]. 

Photographs of some Polish officers murdered at Kharkov. 

Major Baruch Steinberg, Chief Rabbi of the Polish Army, with Polish 
Army officers, presumably Jewish, at the Postepowa [Progressive] Syna- 
gogue, Krakow, on 5 September 1935. Steinberg was among the forty- 
five chaplains in the Polish armed forces taken prisoner by the Red Army 
in September 1939 and known to have been murdered by the NKVD in 
spring 1940. He was held in Starobelsk camp, taken to Moscow in De- 
cember 1939, sent to Kozelsk camp, and shot at Katyn. In the photo he is 
holding what looks like a memorial tablet. Jewish Polish Army veterans 
of the War of Independence met in Krakow on 5 September 193 5 to offer 
a collective prayer for Marshal Jozef Pilsudski, who died in May. 

Main entrance of the Polish War Cemetery at Katyn, 29 October 2004. 
The Katyn victims are memorialized on tablets in the walls bordering the 
path to the cemetery. 

Tablets at the Polish War Cemetery at Katyn with the symbols of the four 
religions of the prewar Polish Army: Roman Catholicism, Judaism, Pol- 
ish Orthodoxy, and Islam. 29 October 2004. 

Exhumation work at a Kharkov grave pit, summer 199 1. A Soviet offi- 
cer, probably from the Main Military Prosecutor's Office, stands at the 
left at the edge of the pit, holding an open file. 

Soldiers from a detached company of the Kharkov [Kharkiv] Mecha- 
nized Division of the Soviet Army assigned to wash the exhumed bones 
of Polish prisoners of war from Starobelsk camp. Kharkov, summer 
199 1. (The Soviet Union ceased to exist on 31 December 199 1.) 

Sorted skulls and bones. Kharkov, summer 199 1. 

Members of the Polish exhumation team at Kharkov in summer 199 1. 
Left to right, Professor Roman Madro from the Institute of Forensic 
Medicine, Medical Academy, Lublin; Prelate Zdzisiaw Peszkowski, 
Kozelsk survivor and chaplain to the Katyn Families in Poland; Stefan 
Sniezko, Polish deputy prosecutor general and chief of the exhumation 
team. The rods in the exhumed skulls show bullet trajectories, indicating 
the professional skill of the executioners. 

Memorial tablet at the Polish War Cemetery, Kharkov, 2000. The name 
on the upper part of the tablet is that of 2nd Lieutenant in Communica- 
tions, Reserve, Antoni Piehkowski (1912-1940); the name on the lower 
part is that of Artillery Captain Ludwik Piehkowski (1895-1940), father 
of Tadeusz Piehkowski, a Polish Katyn expert. 

Soldiers of the Guards Company, Kantemir Armored Division, Soviet 
Army, assigned to exhume the remains of Ostashkov prisoners from a 
burial pit at Mednoe, summer 1991. 

Extracting remains at Mednoe with the aid of a backhc 
summer 199 1. 

The Polish deputy prosecutor general Stefan Sniezko (cen- 
ter) with members of the Polish exhumation team, stand- 
ing in a grave pit at Mednoe beside a victim's remains on a 
stretcher, summer 199 1. 

Members of the Polish exhumation team at Mednoe in summer 1991 
paying homage to the murdered Ostashkov prisoners by lighting a small 
candle (foreground). Left to right, Prelate Zdzislaw Peszkowski; Jedrzej 
Tucholski, a Katyn expert; Zbigniew Mielecki, a prosecutor from the 
Polish Ministry of Justice who gave legal assistance to the Soviet investi- 
gators of the Katyn massacres; an unidentified team member; Roman 
Madro, a medical doctor; another team member, mostly hidden; Colonel 
Zdzislaw Sawicki, an expert on military insignia and uniforms; and an- 
other team member. 

Extermination, March-June 1940 

The Politburo decision of 5 March 1940 to shoot the Polish pris- 
oners of war — those in the three special camps, Ostashkov, 
Starobelsk, and Kozelsk, as well as those in the jails of western 
Belorussia and western Ukraine (docs. 47, 53) — set the NKVD killing 
machine in motion. In April, NCOs still at liberty in the western USSR 
and officers in Soviet hospitals were also swept up in the dragnet (docs. 
58, 68). The prisoners' families also suffered. A month earlier, orders 
had gone out to camp commanders to compile lists of the prisoners 
and their families (doc. 49), and record forms were drawn up for each 
prisoner family and for each prisoner (docs. 50, 51). Orders were also 
sent to the NKVD authorities in Kazakhstan to prepare for the "reset- 
tlement" of prisoner families there (doc. 52). The deportation was ap- 
proved by the Soviet Council of Ministers on 2 March, but the detailed 
NKVD instruction was not approved until 10 April, more than a 
month later (docs. 64a, 64b). Its approval led to the second great wave 
of deportations of Polish citizens from western Ukraine and western 
Belorussia. On 13 April 1940 as many as 25,000 families were de- 
ported; as in the February wave, which carried off the families of mili- 
tary settlers, these were again mostly women and children. The depor- 
tees were "resettled" on collective and state farms in Kazakhstan. 
There they were forced to do heavy physical work. Wives and children 
appealed even to Stalin himself for the release of their husbands and fa- 
thers (doc. 80), but to no avail. Many died from malnutrition and dis- 
ease, especially the very young and the old. 1 




The Executions 

The executions of the prisoners held in the three special camps began 
in early April and continued until late May 1940, with the Ostashkov 
prisoners coming last. The final death transport left Kozelsk on 12 
May; however, it was sent not to Katyn (Gnezdovo Station) but to 
Babynino Station for Yukhnov camp (also known as Pavlishchev Bor), 
so the lives of these prisoners were spared (docs. 84,85). The last batch 
of Starobelsk prisoners left for Kharkov on 10 May, and like their pre- 
decessors, most were likely shot in the Kharkov NKVD jail two days 
later. The last death transport left Ostashkov for Kalinin (Tver) on 19 
May, and most of the prisoners were probably shot in the NKVD jail 
there on 21-22 May. 2 NKVD reports on prisoner moods show their 
belief that they were being sent home. The camp authorities spread 
such rumors and did everything they could to confirm the prisoners in 
this belief in order to avoid resistance. This explains why most of the 
prisoners were anxious to leave and went willingly (doc. 67). 

The extermination mechanism is well documented. NKVD proce- 
dures involved checking and rechecking prisoners (doc. 63), compiling 
and sending to camp commanders lists of those to be sent out of the 
camps to be shot (doc. 62), and reporting on the number sent to their 
death (doc. 65). The documents show that Beria's deputy, Merkulov, 
was informed about the execution of each batch of Ostashkov prison- 
ers in the Kalinin NKVD prison. Similar reports must have been sent to 
him on the execution of the Starobelsk and Kozelsk prisoners as well, 
but they either have been destroyed or are still classified. Solomon Mil- 
shtein, head of the Glavnoe Transportnoe Upravlenie [GTU — NKVD 
Main Transport Administration], reported to Merkulov on the rail- 
way prison cars used to transport prisoners to the execution sites; for 
example, on 5 April he reported on the movement of railway cars 
which had transported prisoners from Kozelsk to Smolensk the day 
before (doc. 61). 

The departure lists sent to the camp commanders were sometimes 
changed. Some prisoners were selected to live either before or at the 
date set for sending them from the camps. Cases for shooting were 
processed by the 1st Special Department in Moscow for prisoners held 
in the Russian Soviet Republic and by the 1st Special Departments of 
the Belorussian and Ukrainian Soviet Republics for prisoners held 
there. Selected to live were those chosen by Soviet intelligence services; 



those requested by the German Embassy in Moscow; ethnic Germans 
and Latvians who had no compromising materials against them; infor- 
mants; persons who might be important sources of intelligence; and, 
finally, those not included in the categories listed in the Politburo deci- 
sion of 5 March 1940. All these people were put "under control" and 
carefully verified. The Troika then made its decisions, recorded in spe- 
cial protocols, but apparently these have not survived. It is not known 
why the last prisoner echelon to leave Kozelsk on iz May was not sent 
to Gnezdovo, the station for Katyn, but to Babynino, the station for 
Yukhnov camp, so that these prisoners survived. If all of these prison- 
ers were not individually put "under control," their survival might 
have been connected with the German attack on Holland, Belgium, 
and France, which began on 10 May. This attack seems to have caught 
Stalin by surprise, for there is no evidence of Razvedka [Soviet military 
intelligence] warnings. 3 Indeed, German Ambassador Schulenburg did 
not inform Molotov of the invasion until the day it began, 10 May, and 
the commissar for foreign affairs remarked that Germany's allies 
might now find themselves "in a difficult situation." 4 


The most abundant documentation on transports and executions con- 
cerns the police and gendarmes who made up the vast majority of pris- 
oners of war at Ostashkov; therefore, an account of their fate precedes 
the others. Unlike the military officers in Starobelsk and Kozelsk, 
many policemen worked for extra food by improving and adding to 
the camp buildings, thus costing the Soviet government very little for 
their upkeep (doc. 83). They were given a fine send-off. According to 
a survivor, "In order to give a more festive air to the departure, the 
camp authorities organized a band to play as the convoys left. This 
produced an excellent effect on the prisoners." 5 In April-May 1940 
the prisoners were transported by rail to Kalinin (Tver), escorted by 
the NKVD 236th Convoy Regiment. There are several reports on this 
"action" — for example, the report on more than 5,000 prisoners who 
were dispatched to their death between 6 and 29 April 1940 (doc. 72) 
and the report of 14 May 1940 on lists received, prisoners dispatched, 
and those remaining in the camp (doc. 76). NKVD figures frequently 
fluctuated because some names were duplicated, some dead prisoners 



were included in the lists of those to be dispatched, some of those on 
the dispatch lists were spared, and some prisoners were added after 
the lists were made. According to NKVD UPV figures, the total num- 
ber of prisoners sent to Kalinin was 6,287 (doc. 84), but verification 
by Polish researchers half a century later yielded a higher number: 
6,3 14. 6 The arrival of each batch of Ostashkov prisoners was noted on 
a "receipt," and most of these "receipts" were signed by Gosudarst- 
vennaia Bezopasnost [GB — State Security] Lieutenant Timofei Kachin 
(doc. 59), whereas reports on executions carried out, called "imple- 
mentations," were sent directly to Beria's deputy, Merkulov. Most of 
these "implementation" reports were signed by the head of the NKVD 
for Kalinin Oblast [Administrative Region], Dmitry Tokarev (docs. 
60, 82). 

NKVD documents do not show how the Ostashkov prisoners were 
killed, but an eyewitness was found half a century after the event who 
deposed testimony on this particular mass murder. In March 199 1 the 
aged Tokarev (b. 1902) gave many details on the fate of the Ostashkov 
prisoners during his interrogation by Lieutenant Colonel Anatoly 
Yablokov, a military prosecutor in the Soviet Main Military Prosecu- 
tor's Office, who was in charge of the Soviet Katyn investigation from 
1991 to 1994. Tokarev claimed that he was not personally involved in 
the killing because a special group of NKVD men came from Moscow 
to do the "work." He stated that those in charge of the operation were 
GB Major V. M. Blokhin, head of the Komendatura [Command] of 
the AKhU [Administrative-Housekeeping Board of the NKVD]; Kom- 
brig [Brigade Commander] M. S. Krivenko, head of NKVD Convoy 
Troops; and Senior GB Major N. I. Sinegubov, head of Intelligence for 
the NKVD Main Transport Administration and its deputy chief. 

According to Tokarev, about thirty NKVD men, mostly drivers and 
some prison guards, took part in shooting the prisoners, always at 
night, after which they would retire to their special quarters and drink 
a lot of vodka. Blokhin was the chief executioner. His special uniform 
consisted of a leather cap, an apron, and gloves reaching above the el- 
bows. The prisoners were divided into batches of 250 because more 
could not be shot easily in one night. They were led from their cells in 
the Kalinin NKVD jail to the cellar, and once there, to the Krasny Ugo- 
lok [Red Corner] room — used by prison personnel for recreation and 
political education — where each man's personal data was checked. 



When the information was confirmed, the prisoner was handcuffed 
and led to a cell outfitted with soundproof material. Then, as Tokarev 
put it, "Two men held [the prisoner's] arms and the third shot him in 
the base of the skull. They led him into the cell and shot him in the base 
of the skull. That's all." The executioners used the German Walther 
pistol — more reliable than the Soviet Nagan — and Geko ammunition. 
(Large quantities of each had been imported from Germany in the late 
1920s and early 1930s.) Tokarev said he did not participate in the 
killing, but remembered a young boy who had been a telephone oper- 
ator in the Polish border guard for only six months. When Tokarev 
asked him in Polish how old he was, the boy smiled and replied, "Eigh- 

Some of the Ostashkov prisoners may have been shot in another 
way that was used and then abandoned. Prosecutor Yablokov told 
Tokarev that he had heard from Leonov (unidentified) that the Poles 
were taken from Kalinin jail to the village of Mednoe, about 30 kilo- 
meters from Kalinin, and shot on the edge of a great pit into which the 
bodies were thrown. Yablokov also stated he had heard that this 
shooting was done by the workers of the NKVD Kalinin command, 
headed by Andrei Rubanov. Tokarev's answer to this statement is in- 
decipherable because there was a break in the recording, but he did say 
soon thereafter that he had heard in Smolensk of "a more stupid pro- 
cedure. There they began to shoot [the prisoners] at the burial site." 
(Indeed, during the spring 1943 exhumations at Katyn, one grave was 
found — no. 5 — where prisoners' arms were tied behind their backs 
with their coats secured over their heads, indicating resistance; see Part 
III.) It is possible that some Ostashkov prisoners were also shot at the 
edge of the burial pits in Mednoe, because Polish exhumation experts 
found one burial pit at Mednoe where, unlike in the other pits, the re- 
mains were buried in a disorderly fashion, suggesting execution at the 
pit's edge. Also, in the 1990s, Polish exhumation work was confined 
by the Russian authorities to the Mednoe- Yamok village area, whereas 
the analysis of aerial photographs points to other possible burial areas 
nearby. According to Tokarev, however, all the prisoners were shot in 
the Kalinin jail according to the procedure he described. He recalled 
that after the execution of each batch of prisoners, the bodies were 
loaded onto trucks and driven to Mednoe, near the area where NKVD 
officers had their dachas (countryhouses). The dead were buried in 



large pits dug beforehand by a mechanical backhoe. Everything was 
done at night, and the burial site was secret, but each head of the 
NKVD Kalinin Oblast informed his successor of the location. 

Tokarev recalled the case of a prisoner spared at the last moment, a 
Polish officer who was the nephew of Mikhail Romm, the Soviet film 
director. His namesake, Michal Romm, a 2nd lieutenant in the Polish 
Army Health Service, was to be shot that night, but Tokarev was or- 
dered by telephone from Moscow to cross him off the list. Indeed, an 
order was sent on 27 April 1940 by GB Captain Gertsovsky to the 
deputy head of the NKVD UPV, Lieutenant Khokhlov, not to send 
prisoner Stanislaw Swianiewicz from Kozelsk to Smolensk, or Michal 
Romm from Ostashkov to Kalinin. Both were rescued at the last mo- 
ment. (Romm became a Soviet citizen and film director like his uncle; 
for Swianiewicz see below.) Tokarev's claim, that three of the execu- 
tioners went mad and committed suicide, is incorrect. One died an al- 
coholic; another died of natural causes; and Blokhin was repeatedly 
decorated and promoted — he managed to reach retirement age — but 
died in disgrace in 195 5. 7 


The Starobelsk prisoners traveled to Kharkov by rail, most likely in 
prison cars. Although detailed convoy reports are available for the Os- 
tashkov prisoners, only a reconstruction of the train schedules for 5 
April-4 May 1940, the first month of executions, is known; it was 
made on the basis of reports sent to Merkulov by Milshtein, head of 
the NKVD GTU. This reconstruction gives the dates, the departure 
stations (Voroshilovgrad and Valooiki), the arrival station (Kharkov), 
the number of railway cars — a total of sixty for this period of extermi- 
nation — and the individual car numbers, but not the number of pris- 
oners transported on each date nor the total for the month. 8 According 
to NKVD UPV data, by late May 1940, the number of men sent from 
Starobelsk to Kharkov was 3,896 (doc. 84), although a high-level offi- 
cial's note of 3 March 1959 lists 3,820 (doc. no). Later verification by 
Polish researchers yielded a lower number, 3, 739. 9 

Only one eyewitness deposition is available on the deaths of Staro- 
belsk officers. Mitrofan Syromiatnikov (b. 1908), UNKVD militia 
lieutenant working in the inner NKVD prison at Kharkov in 1940- 
194 1, was interrogated by a Soviet prosecutor, then by Russian and 



Polish prosecutors, in five sessions between June 1990 and March 
1992. At the first interrogation, he claimed only to have worked at 
digging burial pits and transporting the bodies of the victims to their 
burial place in what is now the sixth sector of the wooded park in 
Kharkov (on the territory of an NKVD sanatorium), about 2 kilome- 
ters (really about 500 meters, near the Belgorod highway) from the vil- 
lage of Piatikhatki. Syromiatnikov said that he worked only ten days in 
May, after which he was sick in the hospital. He stated that he and 
other workers did not know who was arrested nor the charges against 
those held in the jail; the guards were told only that these people were 
enemies of the Soviet nation. Syromiatnikov told the prosecutors that 
the Polish officers were brought by truck from the railway station to 
the inner jail, where they were held before being shot, but he did not 
know who did the shooting. 10 

In the second session, he was more forthcoming. He said he had 
heard that Polish Army officers and gendarmes were brought in from a 
POW camp where they had staged a revolt. His job was to receive the 
Poles and place them in prison cells. After a day or two, they were led 
in groups to the cellar, in which activity he also took part. In the cellar 
sat the prosecutor and the jail commander, Timofei Kupry, as well as 
other workers of the prison command. The prisoners were then taken 
to a separate windowless room, where they were executed. At this in- 
terrogation, Syromiatnikov said he did not know who did the shoot- 
ing, but that the weapon was a Nagan, produced in the USSR. Syromi- 
atnikov saw one of the prison command workers loading the gun. This 
man had about five Nagans on the table beside him; he was taking out 
the spent shell casings and loading new shells into the Nagans. The 
corpses of the dead Poles were loaded onto trucks and taken to the pits 
in the wooded zone of the park in Kharkov. Syromiatnikov said that he 
did this loading and rode on the truck several times. The bodies were 
placed in large pits, after which some white powder was scattered over 
them; he heard that it was to speed up decomposition. As the pits were 
filled up, they were covered with earth. Later the bodies of executed 
Soviet citizens were also buried there. All the activities connected with 
the shooting of the Poles were "controlled" (supervised) by NKVD 
representatives from Moscow. Syromiatnikov also recalled that when 
Soviet forces were evacuating Kharkov at the beginning of the war 
(with Germany in late June 194 1), the wooden fencing around the 
graves was burned down and Kupry personally blew up the cellar 


room where the executions took place. When asked who the NKVD 
leaders in the Kharkov district were at the time, Syromiatnikov named 
them. He elaborated on these accounts during the third interrogation 
session. 11 

Syromiatnikov gave the most information at the fourth session, on 
30 July 1 99 1, when he was grilled by the senior Russian military pros- 
ecutor in the case, Lieutenant Colonel Aleksandr Tretecky, and Pol- 
ish Deputy Prosecutor General Stefan Sniezko. At this time — as the 
first exhumations were taking place — Syromiatnikov admitted that he 
had helped, along with other prison staff, to dig a pit (in the wooded 
park zone) large enough for a truck to drive into, and that digging this 
pit took six prison workers ten days. This was done on Commander 
Kupry's orders before the Polish prisoners arrived. As regards the 
prison itself, he said that the inner jail had two floors with various sizes 
of cells, holding a total of 250 prisoners. Just before the arrival of the 
Poles, two or three persons arrived from Moscow; these were "two- 
somes" and "threesomes" who wore civilian clothes. He claimed that 
even the Soviet prosecutor Roman Rudenko came and read the sen- 
tences (presumably to high Kharkov NKVD officials). Kupry said 
these persons had come to "control" the workers, so everyone was to 
look sharp. The Poles arrived in echelons of 200 at the Southern Rail- 
way Station, but were brought to the prison in batches of 100 men 
each, although on two occasions there were 200 men. 

One of the interrogators reminded Syromiatnikov that earlier he 
had said that the first prisoners to arrive were kept for a time in the 
prison before being shot, but later he had said that prisoners were in 
the prison only a few hours before execution. The interrogator asked if 
the procedure had been speeded up. Syromiatnikov agreed. He also re- 
called that when the Poles arrived, Kupry detailed a guard with a suit- 
case to collect Soviet money and give the prisoners receipts. The pris- 
oners had to leave their suitcases but could have these brought to their 
cells to take out what they needed. (It is impossible to verify whether 
this actually happened.) They had canned food, including cans of Pol- 
ish smalec [bacon fat or pork drippings], which, declared Syromiat- 
nikov, was "exceptionally good." (The prisoners had received food 
packages from home.) On arrival, the prisoners were undressed and 
searched, and their belts were taken away. Later the prisoners' belong- 
ings were sorted out and put in the prison warehouse. 

The prisoners were led unwittingly to their death, said Syromiat- 

Extermination 129 

nikov. They undressed so that they wore only shirts and trousers, and 
had to give up their caps as well. They did not wear rubber boots or 
valenki [Russian felt boots], but shoes with high heels (officers' top 
boots). The jail guards escorted each prisoner, hands bound, along a 
corridor in the cellar. One of the guards, perhaps Syromiatnikov, 
would open a door to the [death] room and ask, "May I?" and hear the 
response "Come in." The prosecutor, who sat behind a table with 
Commander Kupry, asked the prisoner his family name, patronymic, 
date of birth. Then he said [it is not clear whether to the prisoner or to 
the guard], "You may go." "There was a clack," said Syromiatnikov, 
"and that was the end." Syromiatnikov said he did not see the shoot- 
ing, only heard it. "Kupry only shouted 'Alyo' [the Russian street gang 
word for "hello"], and then two of us were to jump in and take [the 
body] to a separate cell." The bodies were placed on trucks, which 
drove up to a camouflaged entrance, and the heads were wrapped in 
the prisoners' coats to prevent bloodstains on the truck platform. The 
bodies were buried in the park in pits dug beforehand and placed in 
three or four rows on top of each other. Syromiatnikov admitted that 
Kupry did the shooting. He denied receiving an 8oo-ruble reward from 
Beria (doc. 90), claiming that Kupry listed the NKVD workers' names 
for rewards but kept the money for himself instead. 12 (Syromiatnikov 
repeated this claim in the fifth interrogation of 6 March 199Z, when he 
did not provide any new information.) In the second interrogation, he 
also asserted that the executions had been supervised by members of 
the NKVD Administrative-Housekeeping Board sent from Moscow 
(just as in Ostashkov), but he gave no names. He did mention the 
NKVD chief for Kharkov Oblast, Major (R S.) Safonov; his deputy, 
Captain (P. R) Tikhonov; the commander of the Smolensk Oblast UN- 
KVD, 1st Lieutenant (T. E) Kupry, and others. Syromiatnikov's testi- 
mony provided much information on the fate of the Starobelsk offi- 
cers, but did not account for all the deaths. Exhumations conducted in 
the Kharkov wooded park area in the 1990s indicated that some of the 
victims were shot at the burial site itself. 13 


No eyewitness testimony has surfaced so far on the deaths of the Ko- 
zelsk camp prisoners whose corpses were exhumed at Katyn in spring 



1943. It is known that the camp authorities arranged for a farewell re- 
ception for the fourth group to leave, which included Generals Broni- 
slaw Bohatyrewicz, Henryk Minkiewicz-Odrowaz, and Mieczyslaw 
Smorawihski, and that their colleagues formed a guard of honor for 
them as they left. 14 Most of the Kozelsk prisoners are known to have 
traveled in railway prison cars from Kozelsk through Smolensk to Gnez- 
dovo Station, located about 6.5 kilometers from the town of Katyn (see 
map 5). They were then taken to a location known in Russian as Koze 
Gory [Goat Hills], which lies on the outskirts of Katyn Forest. 

What did the prisoners see on arrival in Gnezdovo and later? Profes- 
sor Stanislaw Swianiewicz — spared at the last moment because NKVD 
Intelligence wanted him for interrogation — was removed from the 
train at Gnezdovo Station by an NKVD colonel on 29 April, just as his 
comrades were disembarking. Swianiewicz wrote in his memoirs that 
he saw a passenger bus, its windows whitened with cement, make sev- 
eral trips. Lying on the top bunk of his prison car compartment, he ob- 
served the scene through a slit in the carriage wall. He had no watch 
but estimated that the bus took about thirty prisoners each time and 
returned after half an hour to pick up the next batch. 15 

What happened next can be learned from the diary of Major Adam 
Solski, whose body was exhumed at Katyn in spring 1943. He wrote 
the last two entries on 9 April 1940. The method of transportation 
used that day for the trip from the train to the execution area was the 
chyorny voron ["black crow"], the standard Soviet prison car, and not 
the bus described by Swianiewicz, who was at Gnezdovo Station at the 
end of the month. Solski wrote: 

9.04 [9 April]. A few minutes before five in the morning — wake-up 
call in the prison railway cars and preparations to leave. We are to go 
somewhere by car. And what then? 

9.04. Five a.m. The day began in a special way at dawn. Departure 
in a prison car in cells (awful!). We were driven to some place in a 
wood; something like a summer resort. Here, a detailed search took 
place. They took my watch, showing 6:30. They asked about my wed- 
ding ring. . . . They took rubles, main belt, penknife. 16 

Most historians of Katyn accept as true the depositions made by lo- 
cal Russians to the German and other investigative commissions at 
Katyn in spring 1943. These Russians stated that the prisoners trav- 
eled in a bus or prison van a couple of kilometers along the Smolensk- 
Vitebsk road and arrived at or near the main building of the NKVD 

Extermination 131 

summer resort, a building called Schlosschen [Little Castle] by the Ger- 
mans. Their accounts fit those in Solski's diary and another diary entry 
similar to Solski's that was made a few days later by an officer whose 
name cannot be deciphered. Under the date of 17 April, the author 
wrote, in a barely legible hand: "5 hrs. 5 [?] km past Smolensk, there is 
a summer resort [?] 127 [?] people." This sounds like the NKVD 
dacha, but an analysis of aerial photographs indicates that some of 
the 4,410 Kozelsk victims could have been shot in one or more of the 
structures located in the lesopolosa [edge of the forest] area near the 
Gnezdovo Station. Furthermore, there may have been summer cot- 
tages or villas for the use of Soviet officials in the Gnezdovo-Katyn 
area. If so, one of them could have served as an execution site. 17 

Although no eyewitness seems to have survived to tell the terrible 
tale, the exhumations conducted under German supervision at Katyn 
in April-June 1943 by the Polish Red Cross (PRC) Technical Commis- 
sion found that most of the victims' hands were at their sides. Only 
about 20 percent had their hands bound behind their backs, and only 
a few, who apparently put up strong resistance, had their mouths filled 
with sawdust and coats or sacks thrown over their heads. Their hands 
were bound with a rope looped around their necks so they would suf- 
focate if they pulled at the rope. In spring 1943 these corpses were 
found mainly in a water-logged pit (doc. 105b), now known as grave 
no. 5. Until recently, the prevalent view was that all the prisoners must 
have been shot standing or kneeling on open ground, or perhaps even 
standing or kneeling over the burial pits, and that some may even have 
been shot while lying face down on their dead and dying comrades. 
Very few shell casings, however, were found in the burial pits or in the 
area nearby, which indicates that most of the victims were executed 
elsewhere. Indeed, in most burial pits the bodies were stacked neatly 
head to toe in rows, one on top of the other, while in others they were 
thrown in at random. When examined in spring 1943, the largest pit, 
in the shape of an L, held twelve rows of bodies stacked on top of one 

It is noteworthy that the two diaries quoted above speak of a sum- 
mer resort, which could have been the NKVD rest area, whose country 
house was located very near the banks of the Dnieper River and also 
near Katyn Forest, which lies close to the Smolensk-Vitebsk highway. 
The information was confirmed later by Ivan Krivozertsev — one of the 
Russian peasants who testified before the German Inquiry Commis- 
sion, the International Commission of Forensic Medicine Experts 



(known as the International Medical Commission — IMC), and the 
PRC Technical Commission in spring 1943. He fled ahead of the Red 
Army to the western zone of occupation in Germany and made an- 
other deposition on 3 1 May 1945 at a refugee camp in Verden, a town 
southwest of Bremen. He said he thought the prisoners had been 
brought to the dacha, where they were "written down [on lists]" and 
then either shot one by one right there or taken to the execution site in 
the nearby wood. He did not hear any shots and doubted whether any- 
one else did. 18 

As for the method of killing the prisoners, Tokarev made a signifi- 
cant comment in the deposition cited earlier. He said, "They told me in 
Smolensk about a stupider procedure. There they began by shooting at 
the burial site" — clearly a reference to Katyn. It is possible, then, that 
at the outset some prisoners were shot at Katyn near or at the graves, 
but they resisted, so the NKVD reverted to the standard method of 
killing the prisoners individually, taking the victims by surprise in the 
same manner as those in the jail cellars at Kalinin/Tver and Kharkov. 
This would explain why the majority of the bodies laying in the pits at 
Katyn had their hands unbound. But if this was so, where would they 
have been shot? Some proponents of this theory suggest that it may 
have been in the cellar of a villa — burned down later — that stood on 
the nearby Dnieper River bank or in a special room in the NKVD 
dacha — also burned down — because the two diaries cited above indi- 
cate that the prisoners were brought to the "summer resort" from 
Gnezdovo Station either in a bus or in a "black crow." Afterward, the 
bodies could have been taken by another "black crow" to the burial 
pits in nearby Katyn Forest. No documents, however, support the hy- 
pothesis. In particular, German records do not mention any evidence 
of executions in the NKVD dacha, and an inspection in spring 1943 of 
the nearby garage — which still exists — failed to turn up any spent car- 
tridges there. Furthermore, in the 1990s Russian authorities refused 
permission for Polish archaeological-exhumation digs at the site of the 
former dacha or elsewhere in the vicinity, except in a restricted area. 
The theory could nevertheless explain the apparent lack of resistance 
by all but a few out of the more than 4,000 physically fit men buried in 
Katyn Forest, and this leaves open the possibility that they might have 
been killed in a similar way elsewhere in the Gnezdovo-Katyn area, 
such as the edge-of-the-forest area northeast of Gnezdovo Station. 19 

There is, however, indirect testimony on how at least some of the 
Kozelsk officers might have been murdered. The former Russian Fed- 



eral Security officer Oleg Z. Zakirov, who worked on the rehabilita- 
tion of KGB men in the Smolensk Oblast, provided some data in his 
own Katyn investigation of the early 1990s. On the basis of his con- 
versations with NKVD/KGB veterans, Zakirov named some of the 
participants in the executions. The men involved in the Katyn mas- 
sacre included N. A. Gvozdovsky, 1. 1. Gribov, and S. M. Mokrzhitsky. 
From a conversation with GB Major N. N. Smirnov, who had heard 
this from Mokrzhitsky, Zakirov learned that groups of Poles were 
brought to a barrack in a specially fenced place where a roll call 
was organized. They were then seated close together on a bench, with 
their backs against the barrack wall, to have a smoke. Meanwhile, 
Mokrzhitsky and other workers of the command got up on special 
stools inside the barrack, a plank in the wall was raised, and a shooter 
stood behind each prisoner. The shooters, synchronizing their action, 
pressed their triggers, aiming downward, and shot the prisoners in the 
back of the head. The corpses were dragged to pits behind the shrub- 
bery. Similar NKVD methods of shooting prisoners are noted by other 
authors. However, in the early 1990s during exhumations at Katyn, as 
well as at Kharkov and Mednoe, Polish forensic medicine experts con- 
cluded that the bullet trajectories always went upward from the lower 
occipital area to exit through the forehead. 20 

Other indirect evidence on the Katyn massacre was given by mem- 
bers of the local population, who told the Germans, members of the 
IMC, and the PRC Technical Commission in spring 1943 that they 
saw the trains arrive at Gnezdovo Station; but only one man said he 
heard shots from the Katyn Forest area. The names of those interro- 
gated by German officials are listed in the official German report. They 
included Ivan Andreev, Parfemon Kiselev (he was the only one to hear 
shots), and Ivan Krivozertsev. 21 When the war ended, Krivozertsev — 
whose May 1945 deposition was cited above — fled from Germany to 
Italy and arrived at the headquarters of the Polish znd Corps in An- 
cona. Here, at just about the time the Katyn case was brought before 
the International Military Tribunal (IMT) at Nuremberg in 1946, he 
told his story at length to, among others, an emigre Polish journalist, 
Jozef Mackiewicz, the well-known editor of the prewar Polish news- 
paper in Wilno, Slowo [Word], and, in 1939-1941, of a German-con- 
trolled Polish paper there. With the approval of Polish underground 
leaders in Wilno, he visited Katyn in May 1943, when he first met 
Krivozertsev. Three years later, in Ancona, Krivozertsev told him of 
seeing a convoy of trucks coming from Smolensk along the road to- 



ward Koze Gory in early March 1943; they carried prisoners with 
picks and spades, and local people said they were going to dig pits. 
Krivozertsev said that he also saw a convoy of vehicles on 14 March; it 
was preceded by a passenger car, then a "black crow," followed by a 
third car. He was told that the passengers were Poles, and he said he 
saw more such transports moving along the road daily through the 
month of April. A locksmith from nearby Krasny Bor Station, Semyon 
Andreev, told him he heard from railway workers that in Smolensk the 
transports were broken up into smaller groups of two or three railway 
cars each and sent to Gnezdovo, where they were parked on a dead- 
end track north of the station. Prison cars drove up several times to 
each train, and the prisoners were loaded into them. Krivozertsev also 
heard that the executioners, who numbered over fifty, were volunteers 
from the Minsk NKVD. 22 

Krivozertsev stuck with the Poles. He sailed from Italy to Britain 
with the soldiers of the Polish 2nd Corps who had come out of the 
USSR with General Anders to Iran and the Middle East in 1942 and 
who later fought the Germans in Italy (see Part III). Krivozertsev lived 
with them in their camps in Britain. His last known residence was in 
the county of Somerset, where he died a mysterious death in 1947. 
Mackiewicz, after many attempts, finally learned that Krivozertsev's 
body had been found in an orchard on 30 October 1947 and that, ac- 
cording to the police report, he had hanged himself. 23 It is at least 
likely, however, that he was murdered by NKVD agents because he 
talked openly about what he had seen and heard at Katyn. 

As for Semyon Andreev, who also gave testimony to the Germans 
and to the IMC at Katyn, and whom Krivozertsev had characterized to 
Mackiewicz as a deeply religious man who could not be forced to lie, 
his name surfaced in 1967 in a book on the GULAG written by the So- 
viet dissident Anatoly Marchenko and published in English translation 
two years later. Marchenko mentioned meeting a forest ranger named 
Andreev in Vladimir jail in the mid-1960s. Andreev allegedly told him 
he had been incarcerated there for twenty years because he had "acci- 
dentally witnessed the slaughter of the Polish officers in Katyn Forest." 
Marchenko's account seemed to be confirmed in January 1980, when 
a Polish emigre paper in London published an interview with Swiato- 
sfaw Karawahski (Sviatoslav Karavansky), a Ukrainian independence 
activist, imprisoned for his political activity and then sentenced to an 
additional ten years for collecting information on Katyn. He told of 


j 35 

seeing Andreev in the Vladimir jail in 1967. Karavansky wrote that 
Andreev had told him he was imprisoned there with his wife and was 
pressured from time to time to revoke his statements to the IMC, 
which he refused to do. Karavansky made a note of Andreev's statement 
and hid it, but it was discovered and he was sentenced to ten years for 
this "crime." 24 

Andreev's file, containing his case records, which became accessible 
in the Russian Federal Security Archive, Smolensk Oblast in the early 
1990s, tells a different story. According to these records, Andreev was 
sentenced to prison for twenty-five years on the basis of Article 58, 
point ia, of the Soviet Criminal Code (Treason to the Fatherland). The 
file does not mention the fact that he was a Katyn witness and was held 
in Vladimir jail — where all Katyn witnesses were imprisoned — from 
11 December 1955 to 7 March 1956. On 27 February 1956 the Cen- 
tral Case Review Commission cancelled the former sentence and set 
him free. It appears that Andreev, who did not mention Katyn in his 
complaints nor when making the claims of innocence contained in his 
file, signed a declaration that he would not speak about the shooting of 
Polish prisoners of war at Katyn, and this presumably led to his re- 
lease. His later whereabouts are unknown. It is worth noting that most 
of the locals who gave testimony to the Germans and the IMC reversed 
themselves under NKVD pressure when they "testified" before the So- 
viet State (Burdenko) Commission in January 1944. Most died sud- 
denly in circumstances that are unclear. 25 

To return to where the Kozelsk prisoners may have been murdered, 
some could have met their deaths not at Katyn but in the NKVD jail in 
Smolensk. An alleged eyewitness testified to these executions half a 
century later. Pyotr Klimov, a former worker in the Smolensk NKVD, 
described the execution procedure in a letter to the Soviet (later Rus- 
sian) Commission for the Rehabilitation of the Victims of Political Re- 
pression. He wrote: 

In a tiny cellar room, there was a sewer manhole. They brought in the 
victim, opened the manhole, laid the head on the edge and shot him ei- 
ther in the back of the head or in the forehead. . . . They did the shoot- 
ing almost every day in the evening and took [the bodies] to Koze 
Gory, returning around 2 a.m. at night. . . . Besides the driver, there 
were two-three men and the commander. . . . Those who did the 
shooting, that I can remember, were the following: Gribov, [I. I.]; Stel- 
makh, I.; Gvozdovsky, [N. A.]; Reinson, Karl. 26 



The first three names cited by Klimov figure in Beria's list of rewards 
for NKVD workers "for the successful carrying out of special tasks" 
(doc. 90). It is known that some of the prisoners got off the train at 
Smolensk, but no documentary confirmation of Klimov's account has 
been found thus far. 

Poles Held in NKVD Prisons 

While much is known about the fate of the prisoners of war in the three 
special camps, the same does not apply to those held in the NKVD 
prisons of the western regions of Ukraine and Belorussia who were 
transferred to NKVD prisons in Kiev, Kharkov, Kherson, and Minsk 
following Beria's order of 22 March 1940 (doc. 53). According to Be- 
ria's resolution, approved by the Politburo on 5 March, these prisoners 
were also to be shot. Beria stated that out of a total of 18, 632 persons 
arrested and held in the NKVD prisons, 10,685 were Poles (doc. 47). 
However, in a document of March 1959, the number of those shot in 
the prisons was given as 7,305 (doc. no). The lists of victims shot in 
Ukraine have been found; the total number is 3,43 5, more than 2,000 
of whom have been identified. Their burial sites are unknown, but 
since Beria ordered them to be moved to NKVD jails in Kiev, Kharkov, 
and Kherson, presumably they were buried in or near each of these 
cities. 27 The lists must have included at least some of the prisoners 
whom Merkulov ordered on 22 February 1940 to be taken out of the 
three camps and transported to NKVD prisons (doc. 42). Most, how- 
ever, seem to have been arrested and jailed in western Ukraine (East 
Galicia), which was part of interwar Poland. There is still no trace of 
the prisoners taken from NKVD prisons in western Belorussia, who 
were shipped to Minsk according to Beria's directive of 22 March 
1940 and presumably shot in the NKVD prison there. The government 
of the Republic of Belarus has not released any relevant documents or 
permitted any archeological investigation of presumed Polish burial 

The Debate on the Politburo's Decision 

In late October 1940, Beria ordered that rewards be given to the 
NKVD men who had participated in the executions (doc. 90). Thirty- 
nine received a month's extra pay, including Blokhin, who shot many 

Extermination 137 

of the Ostashkov prisoners at Kalinin/Tver, and Kupry, who partici- 
pated in the shooting of Starobelsk prisoners in Kharkov. Eighty-one 
workers received 800 rubles each, including Syromiatnikov — although 
he claimed that Kupry had pocketed the money. Ironically, about the 
same time that Beria decreed these rewards, he and Merkulov were in- 
terrogating two groups of surviving Polish officers in Moscow — to 
find those willing to draw up plans for and lead a Polish division in the 
Red Army (doc. 91). It is clear that Stalin now viewed Germany as a 
potential threat, but he did not think so in spring 1940. This brings us 
to questions about Stalin's motives and the timing of the Politburo de- 
cision of 5 March 1940 — questions that are at the heart of the contin- 
uing debate over the Politburo's decision to exterminate the Polish 
prisoners of war. 

The debate over when and why Stalin decided to have the prisoners 
shot has continued ever since the Germans announced the discovery of 
the Katyn graves in April 1943. As for the timing of the decision, the 
eminent Russian expert on Katyn, Professor Natalia Lebedeva, be- 
lieves that between 22-26 February Beria discussed with Stalin the 22 
February directive on removing special categories of prisoners from 
the three camps to prisons (doc. 42). Furthermore, she regards Beria's 
request for lists of prisoners in the special camps and Soprunenko's 
subsequent reports of 2 and 3 March (e.g., doc. 44) as preparatory 
steps for the NKVD commissar's proposal to Stalin that the prisoners 
be shot. 28 Indeed, Beria was to detail the number and ranks of the 
Poles in his "resolution" addressed to Stalin and the Politburo on 5 
March 1940 (doc. 47). In Lebedeva's opinion, the decision was made 
no earlier than 2-3 March 1940. Further, she connects it to the Polit- 
buro decision of 2 March 1940 on "guarding the state borders of the 
UkSSR and BSSR" (the Ukrainian and Belorussian Soviet Socialist Re- 
publics). This particular decision mandated the deportation of people 
from certain western frontier regions. It also stated that the families of 
the prisoners held in the three special camps would be deported to 
Kazakhstan on 15 April 1940, listing the number of families as be- 
tween 22,000 and 25,000 (docs. 45, 64a, 64b). She suggests that the 
proposal to strengthen security in the immediate proximity of the 
western frontier of the Soviet Union, originally made by Nikita Khru- 
shchev, first secretary in Ukraine, and cowritten by Beria, may have in- 
spired Stalin to shoot the army officers and police who were the heads 
of these families. 



In support of this view, Lebedeva points to the established NKVD 
practice of deporting the families of prisoners condemned to death in 
order to conceal the murder of their relatives. 29 It is true that this was 
an NKVD procedure, although the deportation of "undesirable" per- 
sons and populations from border areas was also an established prac- 
tice. For example, during the Stalin Terror of 19 3 5 -193 8, the entire 
populations of ethnically Polish villages were deported from the west- 
ern border regions of Soviet Belorussia and Soviet Ukraine to Kaza- 
khstan. 30 Likewise, on 10 February 1940, Polish military settlers and 
their families were deported from the Wilno [Vilnius] region as well as 
from western Belorussia and Volhynia, an action not connected with 
the prisoners in the special camps but taken to clear border territories 
of "socially dangerous elements" (SOE, Russian abbreviation). 31 On 2 
March, Beria also ordered the deportation of refugees from German 
Poland, condemned for the crime of illegally crossing the frontier — 
that is, attempting to enter or leave the western regions of the Ukrain- 
ian and Belorussian Republics without official permission. Such per- 
sons were also held in the camps, most of them in Ostashkov, but they 
were ordered to be transferred to prisons in late February 1940 and 
were executed in spring 1940. It is clear they had been categorized as 
"counterrevolutionaries" or spies because most of the run-of-the-mill 
refugees from German-occupied Poland, arrested on this charge in the 
western regions of the USSR, were not condemned to death by shoot- 
ing; instead, Beria ordered them deported to the northeastern group of 
NKVD labor camps in the Vladivostok region. 32 In sum, it seems that 
the families of the Polish prisoners of war held in the three special 
camps would have been deported at some time anyway, as "socially 
dangerous elements," but in this case the date of the decision on their 
deportation may well have been connected with the imminent Polit- 
buro decision of 5 March 1940. 

Beria's order that the prisoner-of-war families be deported in April 
1940 led to a second wave of deportations from the western USSR, 
which swept up 66,000 people. These were followed by the third and 
fourth waves in 194 1 that were unconnected with the prisoners of 
war. 33 Previous estimates of the total number of Polish citizens de- 
ported in 1940-194 1 vary from the 1,000,000-1,200,000 figure cited 
by the wartime Polish government in London to a later estimate of 
1,450,000 deportees given by an emigre Polish scholar. These figures 
probably included Polish citizens conscripted into the Red Army as 

Extermination 139 

well as those arrested and placed in Soviet jails and those who signed 
up voluntarily for work in the USSR. The number of deported Polish 
citizens as recorded by the NKVD is, however, 309,000 to 327,000. 
This number is probably too low because in 1941-1942 Soviet au- 
thorities prohibited the conscription of Ukrainians, Belorussians, and 
Jews from eastern Poland into the Polish Army then being raised in the 
USSR on the grounds that they were not Polish but Soviet citizens. Fur- 
thermore, in early 1943, even ethnic Poles living in the USSR who hap- 
pened to be in the former eastern Poland in November 1939 were pres- 
sured to accept Soviet citizenship. 34 

Whether or not the order of 2 March 1940 to deport the POW fam- 
ilies was connected with Stalin's decision to have the prisoners shot, it 
seems that Beria made the proposal to him around this time. Stalin 
may have made the initial suggestion, however, and, as always, he 
made the final decision. The fateful decision may well have been made 
while a conference was being held in Moscow to discuss "clearing out" 
the Ostashkov camp. This conference apparently took place in late 
February or early March 1940 in the NKVD 1st Special Department. 
A report written by the head of the Special Section in Ostashkov camp, 
Grigory Korytov, to Vasily Pavlov, head of the NKVD Special Depart- 
ment for the Kalinin/Tver region, thought to be dated no later than 4 
March, documents the fact that such a conference took place there and 
the topics of discussion. Korytov wrote that the conference members 
discussed what methods to use in dispatching prisoners from Os- 
tashkov to the (new) camps to which they would be transferred, where 
they would be informed of what their sentences were, and how they 
would be attended to on the way. The death penalty was not men- 
tioned. On the contrary, Korytov wrote that of the 6,005 cases sub- 
mitted from Ostashkov to the NKVD Special Board, 600 had been ex- 
amined, and those prisoners had been given sentences of three to eight 
years in Kamchatka, in Russia's Far East. He noted, however, that 
"further examination of these cases was suspended by the Narkom 
[People's Commissar Beria]. Finally, Korytov wrote, "But it is rumored 
that in March we must basically clear out the camps and prepare to re- 
ceive the Finns" (doc. 46). He also mentioned Beria's instruction, for- 
warded by Merkulov, that several categories of prisoners be trans- 
ferred to prisons (doc. 42). 

It is clear that the conference members assumed that the Ostashkov 
prisoners would be sentenced to several years' hard labor in Kam- 



chatka, but that "further examination was suspended" — possibly be- 
cause Stalin decided to shoot all the prisoners in the three special 
camps even as the debate on those in Ostashkov was under way. In- 
deed, on 5 March 1940 the Politburo approved Beria's resolution to 
this effect. The resolution, contained in his letter to Stalin of 5 March 
(the date is written in by hand, so the original date may have been ear- 
lier), began with the justification for executing the prisoners held in the 
NKVD POW camps and the NKVD prisons in the western regions of 
Ukraine and Belorussia. Beria wrote that they were former workers of 
Polish intelligence "organs," members of Polish "counterrevolution- 
ary" parties and uncovered "c-r" insurgent organizations, and refug- 
ees. There were also people who had tried to "violate the state fron- 
tier" (to enter or depart illegally from the USSR). "They are all sworn 
enemies of Soviet rule, filled with hatred for the Soviet system," he 
said. He claimed that the officers and police in the (special) camps 
were trying to continue their c-r work and were conducting "anti- 
Soviet agitation," just waiting for their release in order to continue the 
struggle against Soviet authority. As further justification, he stated that 
the NKVD had exposed several "c-r organizations" in the western re- 
gions of Ukraine and Belorussia, and in all of them, former officers of 
the former Polish Army and former police and gendarmes played "an 
active guiding role." Furthermore, the refugees from German Poland 
and those who had "violated the state border" also included, he said, 
members of "c-r" espionage and insurgent organizations. 

Beria gave the number of prisoners in the camps as 14,736, listed 
them by rank, and designated 97 percent as Polish. Those held in 
NKVD prisons in the western regions of Ukraine and Belorussia to- 
taled 18,632, he stated, of whom 10, 685 were Poles. 35 He concluded: 
"Based on the fact that they are all hardened, irremediable enemies of 
Soviet power, the NKVD USSR believes it is essential" to "examine the 
cases of those who have been arrested and are in the prisons . . . [and] 
using the special procedure, apply to them the supreme punishment, 
[execution by] shooting." 

At the end of the resolution, the "special procedure" was defined as 
the "examination" of cases and the "carrying out of decisions" by a 
troika consisting of Beria (his name was changed by hand to read 
"Kobulov," evidently by Stalin), Merkulov, and [Leonid E] Bashtakov. 
On the resolution itself, written across the first page, are the signa- 
tures, in blue pencil, of I. V. Stalin, K. Voroshilov, and A. Mikoyan 



and, in ordinary pencil, of V. Molotov. In the margins, evidently writ- 
ten in by Stalin's secretary, Aleksandr Poskrebyshev, are the votes in fa- 
vor of two absent Politburo members, Kalinin and Kaganovich (doc. 
47). The resolution was also summarized in an extract from Protocol 
no. 13 of the 1940 Politburo sessions. 36 

High-level conferences followed in Moscow with camp command- 
ers, NKVD regional commanders, and commanders of NKVD Con- 
voy Troops. On 13 March the commanders of Kozelsk, Ostashkov, 
and Starobelsk camps were called to the capital, together with the 
heads of their Special Sections, for a conference that evidently took 
place on 15 March 1940. They were instructed also to send lists of 
prisoners whose families resided in German Poland. 37 There is no doc- 
umentary record of this conference, but it is likely that the camp com- 
manders were given instructions on how to prepare for dispatching the 
POWs for extermination. 

The lack of documents on Stalin's motive for the decision to shoot 
the prisoners leaves the question unresolved to this day. One theory 
that can be dismissed out of hand is that Stalin ordered them shot be- 
cause he feared they would stage an uprising that would undercut the 
secret protocols he had agreed on with Hitler. 38 In a pioneer study of 
Katyn, published in 1962 — and thus without access to the Russian 
documents that were unavailable until the early 1990s — Janusz K. Za- 
wodny listed four possible motives for the Politburo decision to mur- 
der the prisoners, three of which are shared by most Katyn historians 
today: (1) Soviet officials viewed them as enemies of the Soviet Union; 
(2) their extermination would eliminate a significant part of the Polish 
elite, to be replaced by "Soviet-groomed" leaders; (3) the NKVD be- 
lieved that "the prisoners could not be induced to adopt pro-Soviet 
attitudes." Here Zawodny presciently concluded that "later, at the 
highest level of policy making, an order was given to 'liquidate' the 
prisoners. Such an order was given, in all probability, by Stalin through 
Beria (the chief of the N.K.V.D.) or by Stalin himself." Zawodny's last 
listed motive was (4) Beria misinterpreted an order by Stalin to "liqui- 
date" the camps as meaning the liquidation of the prisoners. Zawodny 
noted that at one time this motive was circulated by word of mouth 
but could not be substantiated. 39 The most common view, held by Pol- 
ish and Russian historians of the Katyn massacre — who also agree 
with the other motives listed by Zawodny — is that Stalin wanted to 
destroy the prisoners because they constituted an elite, the potential 



leaders of a future, independent Poland. Norman Davies, the leading 
Western historian of Poland, adds the class factor — "From the Soviet 
point of view, they were the cream of the class enemy" — although he 
cautions that class was not the only criterion for eliminating Stalin's 
enemies, as evidenced by the murder of independent-minded Polish 
communists. 40 

Whereas it is clear that Soviet officials viewed the prisoners as ene- 
mies of the Soviet system who could not be induced to support it, nei- 
ther the elite theory nor the class theory can provide a satisfactory ex- 
planation for the massacres in Katyn, Kharkov, and Kalinin/Tver. 
Indeed, according to NKVD records, out of the 14,552. prisoners of 
war from the three special camps shot in spring 1940 (doc. 1 10), about 
5,000 from Ostashkov were rank-and-file policemen who clearly did 
not belong to the Polish elite. (See police and gendarme rank and file in 
Appendix, table 2B.) It is true that among the army officers, there were 
prominent Polish intellectuals, as well as many doctors, architects, and 
representatives of other professions, but others were middle-school 
teachers and office workers. Thus, it can be said that most of the pris- 
oners were political enemies rather than class enemies. Also, Stalin ex- 
empted some 400 prisoners, including Polish officers willing to serve 
his interests, such as Colonel (later General) Berling and his group. 

In discussing the question of Stalin's motives, the views of three his- 
torians of Katyn who have worked with the documents accessible 
since 1990 merit special consideration. Lebedeva believes the Polish 
officers were exterminated because Soviet efforts to "reeducate" them 
had failed, for they were clearly determined to continue the fight to re- 
store their country's independence. She writes that according to the 
logic of Stalin and his closest collaborators, it was necessary to destroy 
those bearers of a different way of thinking, those potential warriors 
for Polish freedom. She adds that another factor contributing to 
Stalin's hatred of the Polish officers was the bitter memory of the 
crushing defeat the Red Army, and he personally, suffered in Poland in 
1920. 41 Berling, however, had fought the Russians in 1920, and this 
did not prevent Stalin from promoting him to general and giving him 
the command of the Kosciuszko Division, the embryo of a communist- 
led Polish army, established in spring 1943 (see Part III). 

Wojciech Materski, an eminent Polish historian of Katyn, generally 
agrees with Lebedeva's view of Stalin's motive but adds his own 
thoughts on the matter. He thinks the decision to execute the prisoners 



ripened during the special investigations, especially of the police and 
gendarmes, but of the army officers as well. Since the investigation 
process was completed in the three special camps by i February 1940, 
however, he asks why the Politburo did not decide to exterminate the 
POWs until a month later. He agrees with Lebedeva that the decision 
to "clear out" the camps was originally connected with the expected 
influx of Finnish prisoners, but notes that there were fewer than 1,000 
Finns, so one camp (Griazovets) was sufficient for them; he thinks 
space was needed for prisoners expected from the Baltic States. Mater- 
ski agrees with Lebedeva that Beria and Stalin must have discussed the 
matter before 5 March, and he views the unanimous Politburo vote 
that day as indicative of prior approval by Stalin. 

In discussing other theories, Materski states that while there was co- 
operation between the Gestapo and the NKVD, there is no documen- 
tary evidence for the view that the extermination of the Polish prison- 
ers of war in the USSR in spring 1940 was connected with the German 
"A-B Aktion" — the shooting of several thousand prominent Poles — 
carried out at about the same time in German Poland. Likewise, he 
notes the lack of evidence to confirm another theory: that Stalin 
wanted to show the Germans he would not use the imprisoned Poles to 
create an army to attack them in case they were unsuccessful on the 
Western Front. He also dismisses the view that Stalin's decision was 
due to his resentment of the Polish victory over the Red Army in Au- 
gust-September 1920. Finally, he rejects the theory that Stalin's deci- 
sion was connected with the known agreement of General Sikorski, 
premier of the Polish government-in-exile and commander in chief of 
the Polish armed forces, to include a Polish brigade in the projected 
Anglo-French expedition to aid the Finns in fighting the Russians in 
the Soviet-Finnish War, November 1939-March 1940. He notes that 
none of these hypotheses is confirmed by either Russian or German 
documents. 42 

Another eminent Russian historian of Katyn, Inessa Yazhborov- 
skaia ( Jazborowska), chief author of a study of Soviet policy on Katyn, 
believes there was never any question of releasing the Polish prisoners 
of war, whose deaths were only a matter of time. In her opinion, the 
Soviet leadership never considered freeing "class enemies," who were 
subject to liquidation in the USSR. She believes that intelligence gath- 
ering in the prisoner-of-war camps was carried out to recruit spies and 
collect the data necessary for the deportation of the prisoners' fami- 



lies. 43 There is some evidence, however, that indicates the possibility of 
prisoner release in exchange for important concessions by the Polish 
government, but before considering this matter, the question of timing 
needs to be disposed of. 

Contrary to Materski's opinion, the timing of Stalin's decision may 
well have been connected with the Allies' plan of sending a Polish 
brigade to Finland as part of the projected Anglo-French expedi- 
tionary force to help the Finns fight the Red Army. This much-delayed 
Allied project was finally canceled by the Finnish government's deci- 
sion to seek peace with the USSR. Finnish Foreign Minister Vaino Tan- 
ner told the French minister in Helsinki on 28 February 1940 that the 
Finns would have to accept the Soviet peace terms rejected earlier in 
view of the inadequate aid offered by France and Britain. This news 
was probably in the hands of the Swedish government two or three 
days later, and was officially communicated to the Soviet government 
by the Swedish minister in Moscow on 6 March 1940. 44 Stalin, how- 
ever, may have learned of the Finnish decision as soon as it was made 
or in the next few days, that is, 1-4 March, through Soviet intelligence 
in Helsinki. 45 If this assumption is correct, the news of a forthcoming 
peace with Finland could have triggered Stalin's decision to shoot the 
Polish prisoners. There is no direct evidence of such a connection, but 
there are strong indications that Stalin had kept the prisoners alive as a 
bargaining counter in possible negotiations with the Polish govern- 
ment in London on the postwar Soviet-Polish frontier. In Anna Cien- 
ciala's opinion, this theory provides the best answer to the question of 
why Stalin did not decide to murder the Polish prisoners until early 
March 1940 — when the Finns were ready to surrender and the Polish 
government, far from indicating readiness to discuss postwar fron- 
tiers, had even agreed to send a brigade with the proposed but aban- 
doned Allied Expeditionary Force to Finland. 

Lebedeva and Yazhborovskaia have, of course, ample ground to 
stress that Stalin would have exterminated the prisoners anyway as en- 
emies of the Soviet Union. It seems at first sight that the survival of 
these patriotic Poles was incompatible with Stalin's long-term goal: the 
establishment of a Polish government and army controlled by the 
USSR. Such a government would have had to accept a postwar Soviet- 
Polish frontier that incorporated most of prewar eastern Poland in the 
Soviet Union and agree to a foreign policy friendly to the USSR. How- 
ever, Stalin was a pragmatic statesman willing to use any means to 



achieve his goals. Thus, he showed an interest in recruiting Poles for 
such a government and army, even those known to be hostile to the So- 
viet Union. This would explain the Soviet attempt to recruit General 
Anders into the government of a Polish Soviet republic in September 
1939, although Stalin soon abandoned this idea in favor of exchanging 
some of his Polish lands for dominant Soviet influence in Lithuania. 
From September 1939 to March 1940, while supporting Wanda Wasi- 
lewska's group of Polish communists and socialists in Lviv, he may 
well have envisaged using the POWs as leverage to secure Sikorski's 
recognition of the Soviet annexation of most of eastern Poland and his 
agreement to adopt a policy friendly to Moscow. 

Indeed, unofficial Soviet proposals in the form of "theses" were re- 
ported by Polish intelligence agents from Bucharest, Romania, in late 
October 1939. These theses assumed the Polish government's recogni- 
tion of Soviet sovereignty over Western Ukraine and Western Belorus- 
sia. In return, the Soviet government would support the creation of an 
ethnic Poland, with eventual frontier "rectifications" in its favor. Pol- 
ish agreement to these conditions would, it was said, greatly facilitate 
Soviet rapprochement with the Allies. The USSR would not try to in- 
corporate (ethnic) Poland, but the latter would have to pursue a 
friendly policy toward its eastern neighbor. Finally, such an agreement 
would lead to a complete change of Soviet policy toward Germany. 46 
All these theses — except those on Soviet rapprochement with the Al- 
lies, no longer needed after the German attack on the USSR on 22 June 
1941 — would reappear in one form or another after the breakdown of 
Polish-Soviet relations in late April 1943 (see Part III). 

It is more than likely that there was a connection between these So- 
viet policy objectives and what was happening with the prisoners of 
war in the three special camps. As noted earlier, the prisoners' corre- 
spondence with their families from late November-early December 
1939 to mid-March 1940 made their detention and locations in the 
USSR known not only to their relatives and the Germans, but also to 
the Polish government-in-exile, then based in France. The beginning of 
this correspondence was preceded by an indirect Soviet sounding of 
the Polish government in mid-November 1939. Stefan Litauer, a Polish 
journalist working for the Polish government, who later turned out to 
be a Soviet agent, claimed in a book published just after the war that he 
had had a long conversation with General Sikorski in London on 16 
November 1939, during the latter's visit to the British capital. Litauer 



alleges that Sikorski drew up a memorandum on Polish cooperation 
with the USSR that envisaged raising a Polish army of 250,000 men 
from the prisoners of war held there. The memorandum was allegedly 
given to British Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax, but it did not lead to 
any results "because the time was not right." In fact, Litauer confused 
Sikorski's supposed November 1939 memorandum with a memoran- 
dum he himself drew up for the general in mid-June 1940, which ap- 
pears to have been another Soviet sounding of Sikorski when France 
was falling to the Germans. It is possible, however, that in November 

1939, Sikorski showed interest in some form of cooperation with the 
USSR. Whatever the general may have said to Litauer — and it is 
known that Sikorski privately envisaged a postwar Poland minus part 
of its eastern territories but retaining Lwow and Wilno — Litauer re- 
ported to the British Foreign Office on 25 November that Sikorski saw 
the restoration of Poland's prewar frontiers as "very problematic." 
Sikorski reportedly said that if it proved impossible to recover the ter- 
ritories lost to Russia, Poland might be compensated with military 
control over East Prussia. 47 

Thus, the permission granted the Polish prisoners in late Novem- 
ber-early December 1939 to correspond with their families might well 
have resulted from Litauer's report on his conversation with Sikorski, 
a report that no doubt also reached the Soviet Embassy in London 
even before he made it to the British Foreign Office. This, in turn, 
might have led Stalin to assume that Sikorski could be persuaded to 
recognize the Soviet acquisition of eastern Poland and pursue a 
friendly policy toward the USSR in return for the release of the prison- 
ers of war and perhaps the promise of permission to raise a Polish 
army there when the time came. This hypothesis finds partial confir- 
mation in a statement made in October 1990 by Soprunenko, head of 
the UPV from 1939 to 1944. Fifty years later, he told a Soviet prosecu- 
tor investigating the Katyn massacre that the captured Polish officers 
were kept in the camps because the NKVD counted on an agreement 
with the Polish government in London. 48 It is not clear whether So- 
prunenko was referring here to the prisoners kept in the camps until 

1940, when they were shot, or to the surviving prisoners, plus those 
brought in from Lithuania and Latvia, who were held in Griazovets 
camp from the summer of 1940 to August 194 1, and allowed to corre- 
spond with their families in October 1940. Whatever the case may be, 
if Stalin wanted a frontier agreement with the Polish government in 
1939-1940, he would have had good grounds for keeping the pris- 

Extermination 147 

oner-of-war officers and police alive and allowing them to correspond 
with their families. The prisoners might have become even more im- 
portant to Stalin after the Soviet attack on Finland on 30 November 
1939, which led to the formulation of Allied plans to send an expedi- 
tionary corps, including a Polish brigade, to help the Finns. If such 
plans had materialized, Stalin could have threatened Sikorski with 
killing the Polish prisoners in case the general sent the brigade from 
France to Finland. Of course, this hypothesis must remain one until the 
time — if ever — that a Russian government sees fit to reveal the appro- 
priate documentation. 

Whatever Stalin's plans regarding the Polish prisoners might have 
been, his decision in early March 1940 to have them shot must have 
been made when he concluded that they were of no further use to him. 
On hearing of the Finnish government's readiness to negotiate peace 
with the USSR, either Beria or Stalin could have argued that most of 
the Polish prisoners of war were not only anti-Soviet but also loyal to 
General Sikorski, who gave no sign of recognizing the Soviet acquisi- 
tion of eastern Poland and had even planned to send a Polish brigade 
to fight the Red Army in Finland. The conclusion to this line of 
thought might have been that the Polish prisoners had no further value 
as bargaining chips for Moscow and should be exterminated. 

Whatever sparked Stalin's decision to shoot the prisoners, the vast 
majority were patriotic Poles, which automatically made them coun- 
terrevolutionary and anti-Soviet, as Beria claimed they were. These 
qualifications were more than enough to have them shot, just as some 
two million Soviet citizens were shot between the late 1920s, when 
Stalin achieved total power in the USSR, and March 1953, when he 
died. The key difference is that these Poles were not Soviet citizens but 
prisoners of war. The decision to shoot them violated not only gener- 
ally accepted moral standards, as was also the case with Soviet citizens, 
but also international standards, as embodied in the Geneva Conven- 
tions on the treatment of prisoners of war. 

It is also clear that in early March 1940, when peace with Finland 
was in the offing, the Soviet leadership did not consider a German- 
Soviet war as likely in the near future. This view of the situation, com- 
bined with the loyalty of most of the Polish prisoners to Sikorski, may 
well have sealed the fate of all but some 400 selected to survive. The 
Soviet leaders changed their minds about Polish prisoners of war after 
the fall of France in 1940, for they did not shoot the Polish officers 
brought into NKVD camps in the USSR from Lithuania and Latvia in 


the summer of that year. Indeed, in October 1940, with Germany dom- 
inating most of Europe and Britain fighting for its life, Stalin evidently 
began to envisage the possibility of a German attack on the USSR. In 
any event, as mentioned earlier, Beria and Merkulov sought out among 
the surviving Polish officers those who would be willing to organize 
and lead a Polish division in the Red Army (doc. 91). A few were ready 
to serve, but there were far from enough to staff a division. Berling 
writes that when he presented a list of officers and NCOs for the pro- 
jected Polish division to Beria and Merkulov in early January 194 1, 
Beria inquired whether the list contained only the names of officers 
held in the Kozelsk and Starobelsk camps. When the answer was affir- 
mative, Beria replied, "Nothing will come of this. These people are not 
in the USSR." To this Merkulov added, "We made a big mistake with 
them." Berling assumed that the Polish officers had left the USSR for 
other countries. 49 Little did he suspect that they had been murdered. 

The Politburo resolution of 5 March 1940 (doc. 47) to shoot the 
Polish POWs set off the NKVD killing machine. Soprunenko's instruc- 
tion to Korolev, commander of Kozelsk camp, regarding prisoners cat- 
egorized as secret agents and provocateurs and Merkulov's instruc- 
tions regarding their transport, show the attention paid to this type of 
prisoner, as well as the close supervision of every detail. Merkulov was 
then Beria's first deputy as commissar of internal affairs. 

• 48 • 

Soprunenko's Instruction to Korolev at Kozelsk Camp 
on Transferring POWs to the Smolensk Oblast UNKVD 
7 March 1940, Moscow 

No. 25/2473 
Series K 
Top Secret 

Commander Kozelsk Camp 
Captain Com[rade]. Korolev 
Copy: Chief, UNKVD Smolensk Oblast 
Captain of GB [State Security] Com. Kuprianov 

As a result of thorough verification of camp and Special Section evi- 
dence data, the following POWs held in your camp, can be assigned to the 

Extermination 149 

group of secret agents and provocateurs — Sachnowski (case no. 291), 
Starszynski (case no. 4379), Russek (case no. 3214), Radziszewski (case 
no. 674), Piotrowicz (case no. 694), Mielnik (case no. 873), Morawski 
(case no. 1583), Graniczny (case no. 160), Kretowicz (case no. 788), Sar- 
necki (case no. 971), Oniszczenko (case no. 1216), Sobiesski [Sobieski] 
(case no. 1827). 50 

On the basis of Directive no. 641/b of 22 February 1940, of Deputy 
Narkom of Internal Affairs USSR, GB Commissar 3rd Rank Com. Mer- 
kulov, the above-named POWs are to be sent by special vagonzak [prison 
railway car] to be at the disposal of the NKVD Smolensk Oblast. 51 

The transfer is to be carried out in accordance with our Instruction no. 
25/1869 of 23 February 1940. 52 

Report on implementation. * 

Major Soprunenko 

Commissar, USSR NKVD UPV 
Regimental Commissar Nekhoroshev 

Lists of Polish POWs held in the three special camps and of their 
families with their addresses (doc. 64a) were to be made in connection 
with deporting the families. 

• 49 • 

Beria's Directive to Soprunenko on Compiling Lists of Polish POWs 
and Family Members 
7 March 1940, Moscow 

No. 886/b 

To the Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Com. Soprunenko 
I order: 

1. Organize the compilation of precise lists of those former Polish offi- 
cers, police, gendarmes, prison guards, overt and covert police agents, for- 

* Two handwritten notes across the text: "Com. Khudiakova. To Kozelsk camp files. 
Mak[liarsky]. Please verify whether these persons are in our file data. Makliarsky. " 

Typewritten instruction in the left margin, middle of the page: "Carry out the transfer in 
case there is a vagonzak at Kozelsk Station; if not, do not -.end | prisoners] u ithout my order." 

Handwritten note in the bottom left corner: "Received. V. Kor[olev] 7 March 1940." 



mer landowners, manufacturers, and prominent officials of the former 
Polish state apparatus now being held in the prisoner-of-war camps. 53 
z. In the compilation of the lists, be guided by the following: 

a) The lists must specify the composition of the family of each prisoner 
of war and their [family's] exact address. Members of the family are con- 
sidered to be the wife and children, as well as parents, brothers, and sisters 
if they reside with the family of the prisoner of war. 54 

b) Lists must be compiled for each town and district of the western 
oblasts of Ukraine and Belorussia, separately for each town or district, 
and sent to the NKVDs of the UkSSR and BSSR, to Com. [Ivan A.] Serov 
and Com. [Lavrenty E] Tsanava. 

c) The lists of POWs whose families, according to the information in 
your records, reside in the territory of the former Poland, now in Ger- 
many, must also be compiled in alphabetical order and sent to the NKVDs 
of the UkSSR and BSSR. 55 

d) All lists must be compiled on the basis of materials from the prisoner- 
of-war record files already kept in the camps. The questioning of POWs is 
permitted for the purpose of clarifying existing record files only in indi- 
vidual cases. 

3 . The work of compiling the lists must be completed within five days' 
time 56 

Report implementation. 

People's Commissar of Internal Affairs USSR 
GB Commissar ist Rank 
(L. Beria) 

This form for gathering information on the prisoners' families was 
to be filled out according to region and then sent to the NKVD in west- 
ern Ukraine and western Belorussia for carrying out the deportations. 
UPV officers were sent to the camps to help draw up lists of prisoners 
and their families. 


■ 50 ■ 


Record Form Used for the Families of Prisoners of War 
7 March 1940, Moscow 


of members of families of prisoners of war held in 

camp, living in the town of 

in the oblast of 

, UkSSR or BSSR. 57 

Family name, first name, 

Family composition 

Family address 


patronymic, year and 

(give family name, 

place of birth, last rank 

first name, 

or function of prisoner, 

patronymic, degree 

his property or social 

of kinship, age, 


Function and signature of [person] compiling the list: 

attention: Lists of family members residing on the territory of the former 
Poland now included in Germany are to be made on the same model. 58 


One copy of the directive and one of the model list is enclosed for the per- 
sonal use of the delegated comrades. 

Secretary of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Junior Lieutenant of Militia Bashlykov 59 
7 March 1940 

It is clear that the Troika — Merkulov, Kobulov, and Bashtakov — 
was to pass sentences on the prisoners on the basis of information sup- 
plied by the UPV. This information was contained in the model form, 
drawn up by Kobulov. The third section of the form, for the sentence, 
was to be filled in. 60 



■ 51 ■ 

16 March 1940, Moscow 8 ' 

Top Secret 

From personal file no. 

for prisoner of war ( last name, name, patronymic ) 

Family name, 

Personal data 

Last function and 
rank in former 
Polish army or in 
police, intelligence, 
and prison 


Give year, place of 
birth, property, 
family, social status, 
where prisoner is 
held, when taken 

(Date) !940 

GB Captain (Soprunenko) 

Beria's directive of 20 March 1940 led to the deportation of 66,000 
people, mainly women and children from former eastern Poland, to 
Kazakhstan in Soviet Central Asia. Some died on the way, and many 
died in their places of resettlement. 

* Handwritten note in upper right-hand corner of page: "Received from Com. Kobulov. P. 
Soprunenko. 16 March 1940." 


■ 52 ■ 


Beria's Directive to the Commissar of Internal Affairs, Kazakh SSR, GB Senior 
Major Semyon Burdakov, on the Resettlement in Kazakhstan of Polish POW 
Families to Be Deported from the Western Oblasts of Ukraine and Belorussia 61 
20 March 1940, Moscow 

No. 1042/b 

To the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Kazakh SSR 
GB Senior Major Com. Burdakov 

Twenty-five thousand families of repressed former officers of the Polish 
Army, police, prison guards, gendarmes, intelligence agents, former land- 
owners, manufacturers, and prominent officials of the former Polish state 
apparatus being held in prisoner-of-war camps are subject to deportation 
from the western oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR and Belorussian SSR to the 
northern oblasts of the Kazakh SSR for a term of ten years. 

The indicative number of these family members is approximately 
75,000-100,000 people. 62 

In addition, 2,000-3,000 prostitutes are subject to deportation from 
the western oblasts of the UkSSR and BSSR to the same oblasts of the 
Kazakh SSR. 63 

You must work out specific measures for settling the deportees in Kus- 
tanai, Akmolinsk, Aktiubinsk, Northern Kazakhstan, Pavlodar, and Semi- 
palatinsk Oblasts, figuring on placing 15,000-20,000 people in each 
oblast, based on the number of districts and populated points in each 

In order to ensure complete order, excluding any possible excesses or es- 
capes by the deportees, both along the route of their journey and in the 
places of settlement, you should: 

1. Establish operational groups to direct the operation in the Kustanai, 
Akmolinsk, Aktiubinsk, Northern Kazakhstan, Pavlodar, and Semipala- 
tinsk NKVD Oblast Administrations and the corresponding district sec- 

2. Have the leaders of the operational groups ensure an organized re- 
ception of the [disembarking] deportees by the heads of the echelons [train 
formations] and their further transfer to their places of settlement. 

3. Establish records for all the deportees in compliance with USSR 
NKVD Order no. 001223 — [i9]39- 64 

4. Set up agent-operational servicing of the deportees, ensuring the 
timely exposure of their hostile work and the prevention of escape at- 



5. Issue passports to all deportees, specifying in section 10 that the pass- 
port is valid only within the boundaries of the rayon of residence specified 
for the deportee. 65 

In the event that deportees express the desire to move in order to find 
work in other districts of the above-mentioned oblasts of the KSSR, the 
heads of the corresponding NKVD organs, with the consent of the heads 
of the oblast NKVD administrations, may give permission for this. 

[You are to] present to the USSR NKVD by 5 April 1940 a plan for set- 
tling the deportees that specifies the final [destination] railway stations 
where the echelons are to be unloaded for further dispatch of the depor- 
tees to their places of settlement and the surnames of the leaders of the op- 
erational groups responsible for their settlement. 

People's Commissar of Internal Affairs USSR 
(L. Beria) 

Beria's Directive no. 003 50 did not refer to the Politburo decision of 
5 March 1940 (doc. 47) or to Beria's personal supervision of its imple- 
mentation — Merkulov, Maslennikov, and Chernyshov were ordered 
to report to him on its course — but it clearly concerned the Polish 
POWs as well as all other Poles held in NKVD prisons in the western 
regions of the Soviet Belorussian and Ukrainian Republics. They were 
to be transferred to NKVD prisons in Minsk, Kiev, Kharkov, and 
Kherson to be shot there. 

• 53 • 

Beria's Order no. 00350 on "Clearing Out" the NKVD Prisons 
in the Western UkSSR and BSSR 
22 March 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 
No. 00350 

Order of the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs USSR for 1940 
Contents: On Clearing Out the NKVD Administration Prisons of 
Western UkSSR and BSSR 
22 March 1940, Moscow 

In order to clear out the NKVD Administration prisons in the western 
oblasts of the UkSSR and BSSR, 




i. For the NKVD of the Ukrainian SSR: 

i) Transfer 3,000 arrested persons from the prisons of the western 
oblasts of the Ukrainian SSR to the prisons of the central oblasts of the 
UkSSR. Of these: 

2) Relocate the arrested persons in the Kiev, Kharkov, and Kherson pris- 

3) Send the head of the Main Prison Administration of the USSR 
NKVD, GB Major Com. [Pavel N.] Zuev, to render assistance to the 
UkSSR NKVD in organizing the transportation of these arrested persons. 

4) UkSSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, GB Commissar 3rd 
Rank Com. Serov, and the head of the Main Prison Administration of the 
USSR NKVD, GB Major Com. Zuev, are to complete the operation of 
transporting the 3,000 arrested persons from the prisons of the western 
oblasts of the UkSSR to the prisons of the central oblasts of the UkSSR 
within ten days' time. 

5 ) Bearing in mind the possibility of escapes by the arrested persons and 
attempted attacks on the convoy by counterrevolutionary (c-r) elements in 
order to free the arrested [persons], entrust Corns. Serov, Zuev, and the 
commander of the 13 th Division of the NKVD Convoy Troops, Colonel 
Com. A. I. Zavialov, with the responsibility of ensuring the strictest order 
among and guarding of the arrested persons, during both their reception 
[from the prisons] and their being loaded [onto the trains] and all along 
the route of the echelons [carrying] the arrested persons. 

6) USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, Divisional 
Commander Com. Chernyshov, shall within ten days' time remove from 
their NKVD places of imprisonment in the Ukrainian SSR and send to 
USSR NKVD correctional labor camps 8,000 convicted prisoners, includ- 
ing 3,000 from the Kiev, Kharkov, and Kherson prisons. 67 

2. For the NKVD of the Belorussian SSR: 

1) Transfer 3,000 arrested persons from the prisons of the western 
oblasts of the Belorussian SSR to Minsk prison, of these: 

From Lvov prison 
from Rovno prison 
from Volynsk prison 
from Tarnopol prison 
from Drogobych prison 
from Stanislavov prison 

900 people 


from Brest prison 1,500 persons 

from Vileika prison 68 550 " 



from Pinsk prison 
from Baranovichi prison 



2) Send the section head of the Main Prison Administration of the USSR 
NKVD, GB Captain Com. [Aleksandr] Chechev, to render assistance to 
the BSSR NKVD in organizing the transfer of these arrested persons. 

3) BSSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, GB Commissar 3rd 
Rank Com. Tsanava, and the head of the Department of the Main Prison 
Administration of the USSR NKVD, GB Captain Com. Chechev, shall 
complete the operation of transporting the arrested persons from the pris- 
ons of the western oblasts of the BSSR to Minsk prison within ten days' 

4) Entrust Corns. Tsanava, Chechev, and the commander of the 15th 
Brigade of the NKVD Convoy Troops, Colonel Com. P. S. Popov, with 
the responsibility of ensuring the strictest order among and guarding of 
the arrested persons, both during reception and loading and all along the 
route of the echelons with the arrested persons. 

3. USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, Divisional 
Commander Com. Chernyshov, shall ensure the delivery on time of the 
necessary number of echelons for the above-specified transports of ar- 
rested persons, both for transporting the arrested [people] from the west- 
ern oblasts of the UkSSR and BSSR and for shipping out 8,000 prisoners 
from the UkSSR to correctional labor camps. 70 

4. USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs, Corps Com- 
mander Com. Maslennikov, and the head of the Main Administration of 
Convoy Troops, Brigade Commander Com. V. N. Sharapov, are to allo- 
cate the necessary number of convoy [soldiers] and organize the careful 
guarding of the convoyed arrested persons, not allowing even one to es- 

Corns. Maslennikov and Chernyshov shall report to me along the way 
on the progress in implementing the present order. 

USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 1st Rank 
L. Beria 71 

The rank order for sending information on the officers in this in- 
struction turned out to be generally the same as the order in the death 


■ 54 • 

Soprunenko's Instruction to [Aleksandr G.] Berezhkov, Starobelsk Camp, 
on Sending Information about Polish POWs to the USSR NKVD UPV 
30 March 1940, Moscow 

No. 49534/8474 
Top Secret 

Starobelsk. NKVD Camp. To Berezhkov. 

I direct the sending of information first on the highest-ranking, then on 
the senior and middle-level officer cadres, and last on physicians, teachers, 
agronomists, and other civilians who have no compromising materials 
about them. 72 

P. Soprunenko 

The first lists of victims to be dispatched to their death were dated 1 
April 1940. Sixty-seven lists were signed for Ostashkov prisoners be- 
tween April and 19 May, most of them for ninety to a hundred people 

• 55 • 

Soprunenko's Directive to Borisovets on Sending Forty-Nine Polish POWs 
from Ostashkov Camp to the Commander of the Kalinin Oblast UNKVD 73 
1 April 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 
For Addressee Only 

To the Head of the Ostashkov Prisoner-of-War Camp 
Major Com. Borisovets, Ostashkov 

Upon receipt of this, immediately send to the city of Kalinin, into the 
charge of the commander of the Kalinin Oblast UNKVD, the POWs listed 
below who are being held at Ostashkov camp. 

[The numbers after names refer to ranks, if known.] * 

* According to KDZ2/51: (1) official of the Polish Police (PP); (2) PP functionary; (3) PP 
constable; (4) PP senior constable; (5) PP senior inspector; (6) PP 1st constable; (7) prison of- 
ficial; (8) prison guard; (9) PP superintendent; (10) colonel, senior chaplain. 



1. Ekiert,J6zef (i), son of Ludwik b. 1883 

2. Studnicz, Jan (2), son of Antoni b. 1890 

3. Golema, Ludwik, son of Piotr b. 1890 

4. Rysik, Stanislaw, son of Tomasz b. 1910 

5. Wroblewicz, Szczepan (3), son of Jan b. 1891 

6. Dec, Franciszek (4), son of Jozef b. 1897 

7. Wfodarczyk, Jan, son of Antoni b. 1890 

8. Rozanski, Marian, son of Adam b. 1901 

9. Lonczek (or Laczek) Adam, son of Wojciech b. 1890 

10. J^drzejczyk, Antoni (3), son of Maciej b. 1891 

11. Bajwoluk, Pawel (5), son of Franciszek b. 1901 

12. Bieda, Stanistaw (4), son of Jan b. 1897 

13. Dabrowski, Marian (4), son of Jozef b. 1893 

14. Binkowski, Jozef, son of Adam b. 1890 

1 5 . Wtoszczal, Piotr, son of Wojciech b. 1895 

16. Kucharek, Stanisfaw, son of Jozef b. 1907 

17. Kaszub, Franciszek(4), son of Jozef b. 1899 

18. J^drejek, Czestaw (3), son of Michai b. 1912 

19. Lazewski, Jan (6), son of Stanislaw b. 1896 

20. Figlewicz, Stefan (4), son of Wojciech b. 1892 

21. Matyja, Wfadyslaw (2), son of Franciszek b. 1891 

22. Lechowski, Bronistaw, son of Ignacy b. 1896 

23. Janosko, Antoni, son of Kacper b. 1905 

24. Danilczuk, Marcin, son of Marcin b. 1900 

25. Kostrzewski, Zygmunt, son of Jacenty b. 1899 

26. Maciejewski, Ignacy (6), son of Ludwik b. 1898 

27. Wieczorek, Stanisfaw, son of Jozef b. 1910 

28. Kozfowski, Jerzy (7), son of Bronislaw b. 1904 

29. Petka, Bogumit (4), son of Jozef b. 1899 

30. Dworzyhski, Jan, son of Jan b. 1909 

3 1 . Koziof , Jozef (5), son of Franciszek b . 1900 

32. Stankiewicz, Michat (8), son of Andrzej b. 1900 

33. Piaszczyk, Ludwik (2), son of Jozef b. 1912 
3 4 . Miller, Alfred, son of Fryderyk b . 1 8 8 4 

35. Latosihski, Feliks, son of Antoni b. 1892 

36. Szalka, Antoni (6), son of Idzi b. 1899 

37. Sikora Jan, son of Jan b. 1892 

38. Zarzycki, Stanistaw, son of Wawrzyniec b. 1901 

39. Krakowiak, Stanisfaw (4), son of Wojciech b. 1900 

40. Suski, Stefan, son of Jozef b. 1903 

41. Lewicki, Wfadyslaw (4), son of Andrzej b. 1892 

42. Lubawa, Kazimierz, son of Michat b. 1887 
4 3 .Sitko,Wtadystaw(3),sonofJ6zef b. 1913 

44. Wesotowski, Wfadyslaw, son of Zygmunt b. 1888 

45. Wiczyhski, Kazimierz (2), son of Piotr b. 1889 

46. Raspohczyk, Wactaw, son of Adam b. 1908 



47. Biechoriski, Jerzy (9), son of Adam 

48. Wojtyniak, Czeslaw (10), son of Walenty 

49. Rysiowski, Wladyslaw, son of Piotr 

b. 1892 
b. 1889 
b. 1896 

Head of the NKVD USSR UPV 
GB Captain 
P. Soprunenko 

The delivery of lists for dispatching prisoners to their deaths was a 
highly secret operation. 

Soprunenko's Directive to the Heads of Ostashkov, Starobelsk, 
and Kozelsk Camps on Receiving Lists of Polish POWs from the NKVD UPV 

Ostashkov, Kalinin Oblast NKVD Camp, to Borisovets 
Starobelsk, Voroshilovgrad Oblast NKVD Camp, to Berezhkov 
Kozelsk, NKVD Camp Smolensk Oblast NKVD Camp, to Korolev 

In order to receive the lists from the UPV, immediately send to Moscow 
the responsible staff member whom you have assigned to make regular 
trips for this specified purpose. 74 


The aim of Soprunenko's instruction of 4 April 1940 was to save the 
informants and intelligence agents among the prisoners. According to 
Natalia Lebedeva, out of 395 survivors of the three camps, about 100 
were probably agents. 75 


4 April 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 


■ 57 ■ 

Soprunenko's Instruction to the Heads of Ostashkov, Starobelsk, 
and Kozelsk Camps on Sending Agent Record Files to the NKVD UPV 
4 April 1940, Moscow 

No. 4954/8919 
Top Secret 

Kozelsk NKVD Camp to Zarubin, Korolev. 
Starobelsk NKVD Camp to Mironov, Berezhkov. 
Ostashkov NKVD Camp to Kholichev, Borisovets. 

If the lists of POWs subject to dispatch from the camp include your 
agents, do not send the latter anywhere until [you receive] special instruc- 

Select camp record files on agents that have not already been sent to the 
UPV and send these together with any agent materials you have on them 
by courier in top secret procedure to me personally. 

Basis: Instruction from Deputy People's Commissar Com. Merkulov 

P. Soprunenko 

Beria's directive of 4 April 1940 indicates the goal of exterminating 
not only the officers and police held in the camps but also the NCOs 
from western Ukraine and western Belorussia, who had been released 
to their homes and given internal passports as Soviet citizens. 


■ 58 • 


Beria's Directive to UkSSR and BSSR People's Commissars 
of Internal Affairs Serov and Tsanava to Arrest NCOs of the 
Former Polish Army in Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia 
4 April 1940, Moscow 

Nn 73 /b 

To the UkSSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 3rd Rank Com. Serov 
To the BSSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 3rd Rank Com. Tsanava 

Regarding the cases of counterrevolutionary organizations of Polish na- 
tionalists that have been liquidated in the western oblasts of the UkSSR 
and BSSR, it has been established that the noncommissioned cadres of the 
former Polish Army (corporals, platoon leaders, sergeants, etc.) play the 
most active and, in many instances, the leading role in these organiza- 
tions. 76 

In connection with this, I hereby propose: 

1. To arrest all the individuals from among the noncommissioned offi- 
cers of the former Polish Army who are conducting c-r work. 

2. To include in operational data the noncommissioned officer cadres of 
the Polish Army: corporals, platoon leaders, senior sergeants, sergeants, 
ensigns, and officer cadets, utilizing for this the passportization [issuing of 
passports] being carried out in the western oblasts of the UkSSR and BSSR 
and the registration of those subject to military service. 77 

3. In the process of exposing the noncommissioned officer cadres of the 
former Polish Army, provide secret surveillance of the dubious and suspi- 
cious elements [among them]. 

4. Inform the USSR NKVD on the results of the data collected. 

People's Commissar of Internal Affairs USSR 
GB Commissar 1st Rank 
(L. Beria) 

Lieutenant Kachin's report of 5 April 1940 is the first of a whole se- 
ries of "receipts," that is, reports on the arrival of Ostashkov POWs at 


■ 59 ■ 

Receipt for 343 Polish POWs 
5 April 1940, Kalinin 


Received from the convoy, prisoners numbering three hundred and 
forty-three people (343 ). 78 

Received. T. Kachin 
5 April 1940 

This is the first of many reports by the UNKVD head of Kalinin 
Oblast, Dmitry Tokarev, on the "implementation," that is, the murder 
of the Polish police and gendarme POWs from Ostashkov camp. He 
gave a harrowing description of these executions half a century later to 
officials of the Soviet Main Military Prosecutor's Office and the Polish 
Ministry of Justice. 

• 60 • 

Report from Dmitry Tokarev, UNKVD, Kalinin Oblast 
on the Implementation of the First Order 
5 April 1940, Kalinin 

No. 13974 
Top Secret 

To Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Com. Merkulov 
First order implemented no. 3 4 3. 79 


The head of the NKVD Glavnoe Transportnoe Upravlenie [GTU — 
Main Transport Administration], Solomon Milshtein, sent Merkulov 
reports, sometimes twice a day, on every transport of Kozelsk POWs 
on the Moscow-Kiev or Dzherzhinsky Railway Lines to Smolensk. 


■ 61 • 


Solomon Milshtein's Report to Merkulov on the Rail Transport 
of Polish POWs from Kozelsk to Smolensk on 4 April 1940 
5 April 1940, Moscow 2 ' 

Top Secret 

To the Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs USSR 
GB Commissar 3rd Rank 
Com. Merkulov 

Report on the Movement of Prison Cars in Railway Transport 
on 4 April 1940 80 

On 4 April of this year, at Kozelsk Station, Dzherzhinsky Railway Line, 
four train cars were loaded [with prisoners], instead of the three train cars 
according to the plan. 

At 20:30, train cars no. 3006 and no. 663 were delivered, by train no. 
1 173, to the Moscow-Kiev Railway Line and, at 2.2:10, sent to Smolensk 
from Sukhinichi Station with train no. 1145. 

At 24:00, train cars no. 684 and no. 650 were delivered, by train no. 
1 169, to the Moscow-Kiev Railway Line. They will be sent from Sukhini- 
chi Station to Smolensk on 5 April at 12:00. 

At the request of the representative of the Main Administration of Con- 
voy Troops, Colonel Stepanov, on 5 April of this year four train cars are to 
be loaded. 

On 5 April of this year, at 00:45, two train cars, nos. 720 and 708, were 
sent with train no. 88 from Smolensk to Kozelsk, as per the plan. No train 
cars were sent out with freight trains on 4 April. Requests to couple three 
train cars at Smolensk Station as per the plan were not received from the 
representative of the Main Administration of Convoy Troops. 

GB Commissar 3rd Rank 

Soprunenko's instruction to Korolev of 6 April 1940 was, in fact, a 
death list, one of at least two sent to Kozelsk that day, and is typical of 
several surviving lists. These prisoners (except General Jerzy Wolko- 

* Handwritten notes on document: "Com. Soprunenko, 5. April 40. M[erkulov]." And, 
"Stepanov is sending requests for the departure <■>• prison cars. P. Soprunenko. 5 April 1940." 



wicki, the only Kozelsk general to be spared) were to be sent to 
Smolensk, but their remains were found at Katyn. Most prisoners were 
sent through Smolensk to Gnezdovo Railway Station (see map 5). 
However, some may have been shot in the NKVD prison or elsewhere 
in Smolensk, even though their bodies were buried at Katyn. 

• 62 • 

Soprunenko's Instruction to Korolev on Sending Eighty-Nine Polish POWs 
from Kozelsk Camp to the Head of the Smolensk Oblast UNKVD 81 
6 April 1940, Moscow 

USSR NKVD no. 015/2 
Top Secret 
For Addressee Only 

To the Head of Kozelsk Prisoner-of-War Camp 
GB Senior Lieutenant Com. Korolev 
Kozelsk, Smolensk Oblast 

Upon receipt of this [instruction], immediately send to Smolensk to the 
charge of the head of the Smolensk Oblast UNKVD the POWs listed be- 
low who are being held in Kozelsk camp: 82 

[Names are given in Polish. The numbers after names refer to ranks, if 

Record No. 

1. Gozdziewski, Stanislaw (1), son of Stanisiaw, b. 1886 


2. Dziurzyriski, Kazimierz (2), son of Jan, b. 1891 


3. Dobrowolski, Kazimierz (3), son of Zygmunt, b. 1889 


4. Certowicz, Jan (1), son of Wojciech, b. 1889 


5. Pietrzak, Franciszek (4), son of Jakub, b. 1897 


6. Smorawhiski, Mieczysfaw (5), son of Jan, b. 1893 


7. Bohatyrewicz, Bronisfaw (6), son of Kazimierz, b. 1870 


8. Woikowicki, Jerzy (6), son of Faddiei [Tadeusz], b. 1883 


9. Czarnek, Zbigniew (1), son of Wfadystaw, b. 1887 


[o. Byczkowski, Mikofaj (1), son of. Wincenty, b. 1887 


* According to KDZ2/69: (r) lieutenant colonel, retired; (2) lieutenant colonel, active; (3) 
lieutenant, reserves; (4) captain, active; (5) brigadier general, active; (6) brigadier general, re- 
tired; (7) captain, reserves; (8) major, active; (9) major, retired; (ro) lieutenant colonel, ac- 
tive; (ri) lieutenant commodore, retired; (iz) major, reserves; (r3) captain, retired; (r4) 
chaplain, major; (15) lieutenant colonel, reserves; (r6) lieutenant commodore; (r7) colonel, 
reserves; (r8) division general, retired. 



ii. Raczkowski, Jan (7), son of Jozef, b. 1893 


12. Koman, Zygmunt, son of Jozef, b. 1882 


13. Florczak, Tadeusz (13), son of Michal, b. 1895 


14. Pyszko, Jan (9), son of Pawei, b. 1881 


1 5 . Piotrowski, Jan, son of Jakub, b. 1897 


16. Kasprzykiewicz, Wilhelm (10), son of Antoni, b. 1896 


17. Gotkiewicz, Leon (10), son of Edward, b. 1885 


18. Machowski, Franciszek (10), son of Wincenty, b. 1893 


19. Trojan, Stanisiaw (8), son of Kacper, b. 1894 


20. Szyfter, Pawei (7), son of Pawei:, b. 1893 


21. Kwaskowski, Bronislaw (8), son of Piotr, b. 1899 


22. Staszkiewicz, Wlodzimierz (11), son of Marian, b. 1891 


23. Czubinski, Stanisiaw (8), son of Franciszek, b. 1893 


24. Stolarz, Stefan (10), son of Tomasz, b. 1889 

1 196 

25. Stej>kowicz, Wladyslaw (10), son of Teofil, b. 1893 


26. Kutyba, Jozef (10), son of Jan, b. 1899 


27. Bauerfeind, Gustaw (12), son of Gustaw, b. 1886 

3 3 3° 

28. Drewski, Karol (13), son of Stanisiaw, b. 1894 


29. Opielinski, Edmund (4), son of Ludwik, b. 1896 


30. Orfowski, Walerian (8), son of Walerian, b. 1893 

429 5 

31. Chojecki, Edmund (8), son of Jozef, b. 1892 


32. Kronenberg, Artur (9), son of Walenty, b. 1887 


33. Sapiejewski, Jan (8), son of Jan, b. 1892 


34. Sarnowicz, Kazimierz (4), son of Wladyslaw, b. 1891 


35. Iwaszkiewicz, Wactaw (10), son of Jan, b. 1894 


36. Czajka, Jozef (12), son of Wincenty, b. 1885 


3 7 . Lewakowski, Jerzy (10), son of Aleksander, b. 1 89 1 


38. Lesiriski, Piotr (4), son of Piotr, b. 1899 

3 54 

39. Ziolkowski, Jan (14), son of Jan, b. 1889 


40. Rzecki, Jan (4), son of Tadeusz, b. 1895 


41. Solski, Adam (8), son of Marian, b. 1895 


42. Zwierkowski, Lukasz (8), son of Stanisiaw, b. 1893 


43. Zajaczkiewicz, Jozef (9), son of Gabriel, b. 1881 


44. Golkowski, Kazimierz (10), son of Wilhelm, b. 1892 


45. Janicki, Jan (4), son of Franciszek, b. 1897 


46. Wojtowicz, Marian (15), son of Stanisiaw, b. 1892 


47. Hajzik, Antoni (8), son of Jan, b. 1895 


48. Matzner, Boleslaw (2), son of Klemens, b. 1889 


49. Kulesza, Wladyslaw (2), son of Hieronim, b. 1888 


50. Reichenberg, Gwido Arnold (8), son of Walerian, b. 1892 

43 87 

5 1 . Janik, Jan ( 8 ), son of Michal, b. 1 89 5 


52. Baranowski, Adolf (1), son of Jan, b. 1883 


53. Sadowski, Aleksander (16), son of Antoni, b. 1887 


54. Stefanowski, Antoni (17), son of Adam, b. 1885 


55. Sielewicz, Julian (10), son of Franciszek, b. 1892 


56. Pileski, Julian (9), son of Boleslaw, b. 1883 

3 1 12 

57. Bartaszyhski, Kazimierz, son of Wladyslaw, b. 1888 




58. Bfazewski, Bolestaw (2), son of Hipolit, b. 1890 1202. 

5 9 . Horak, Stef an ( 7 ) , son of Franciszek, b.1892 1018 

60. Jackowski, Kazimierz (12), son of Aleksander, b. 1886 1968 

61. Szypowski, Antoni (9), son of Antoni, b. 1885 4196 

62. Pafczynski, Wincenty (8), son of Jan, b. 1898 3763 

63. Jamiofkowski, Konstanty (10), son of Rudolf, b. 1895 3451 

64. Swiatofdycz-Kisiel, Wilhelm Julian (9), son of Ludwik, b. 1885 1636 

65. Borozdin, Konstanty (8), son of Jan, b. 1897 3262 

66. Mikiewicz, Wojciech (12), son of Kazimierz, b. 1892 312.4 

67. Potrzobowski, Karol (12), son of Karol, b. 1885 3442. 

68. Minkiewicz, Henryk (18), son of Kazimierz, b. 1880 1141 

69. Choma, Edward (14), son of Michai, b. 1889 4911 

70. Zaremba, Mieczysiaw (8), son of Damian, b. 1894 32.39 

71. Studnicki, Bronisfaw (8), son of Julian, b. 1899 3737 

72. Sadowski, Jan (8), son of Wojciech, b. 1890 1923 

73. Wanat,J6zef (10), son of Wojciech, b. 1894 1873 

74. Adamski, Stanistaw (8), son of Antoni, b. 1897 4274 

75. MJynarczyk, Franciszek (8), son of Jan, b. 1894 4007 

76. Bauer, Jan (12), sonofjakub, b. 1884 2801 

77. Staniszewski, Jerzy (10), son of Wfadysiaw, b. 1896 1168 

78. Poptawski, Antoni (8), son of Antoni, b. 1892 2436 

79. Perkowski, Hipolit (4), son of Franciszek, b. 1896 409 

80. Zabkowski, Jarosfaw (4), son of Adam, b. 1897 933 

81. Legowski, Jozef (8), son of Julian, b. 1896 4354 

82. Zafuska, Jan (2), son of Aleksander, b. 1889 1151 

8 3 . Paczesny, Antoni ( 1 o ) , son of Ignacy, b . 1 8 8 6 1189 

84. Swiderski, Kazimierz (10), son of Jan, b. 1893 2334 
8 5 . Jarzabkowski, Marian (4), son of Jozef, b. 1900 3308 

86. Wania, Edward (10), son of Jan, b. 1897 279 

87. Owczarski, Jozef (10), son of Marcin, b. 1893 5 Z 7 
8 8 . Liso wski, Henryk ( 1 o ) , son of Wfadysiaw, b . 1 8 9 4 1 1 7 8 
89. Kajetanowicz, Antoni (10), son of Rafal, b. 1888 2037 

Total Eighty-Nine People 

Chief, NKVD Administration for Prisoner-of-War Affairs 

Captain of State Security 


The note at the beginning of the document, "Status as of 8 April 
This Year," is misleading. Instead, the lists provide the number and 
various ranks and categories of Polish POWs in the three special camps 
and the Narkomchermet camps as of 1 April. 


■ 63 • 


Report by USSR NKVD UPV on the Number of Polish POWs Held 
in NKVD and Narkomchermet Camps According to Rank or Profession 
Not earlier than 8 April 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 

Register of the Numbers of Prisoners of War in NKVD Camps 

Status as of 8 April This Year 
1. Starobelsk Camp 

Total held in the camp 3,894 people 

Of these: a) Generals 8 

b) Colonels 55 

c ) Lieutenant colonels 126 

d) Majors 316 

e) Captains 843 

f ) Other officers 2 5 5 2 7 

g) Priests 9 

h) Landowners 2 

i) Prominent government officials 5 
j) Police 1 
k) Son of a colonel 1 
1) Valet of Moscicki 83 1 

Comment: The policeman and the colonel's son have been left in the camp 
for operational consideration. 

2. Kozelsk Camp 

Total held in the camp 4,599 people 

a) Admiral 

b) Generals 


c) Colonels 


d) Lieutenant colonels 


e) Majors 


f ) Captains 


g) Naval captains 

h) Naval captains 1st rank 

i) Naval captains 2nd rank 


j ) Other officers 


k) Priests 


1) Landowners 


m) High government officials 



n) Soldiers and noncommissioned officers 
(to be sent to Construction Site no. i) 85 
o) Others (being verified for a decision on 
their further referral) 

3 . Ostashkov Camp 

Total held in the camp 

Of these: a) Army officers 

b) Police and gendarmerie officers 

c) NCOs of the police and gendarmerie 

d) Rank-and-file police and gendarmerie 

e) Prison guards 

f ) Intelligence agents and provocateurs 

g) Priests 

h) [Military] settlers 

i) Merchants 

j) Transferred from former Polish prisons 
k) Judiciary workers 
1) Soldiers and NCOs 
m) Others (being verified for a decision 
on their further referral) 

6,364 people 
48 " 

240 " 


Total Prisoners of War Held in NKVD Camps 14,857 people 86 

Of these: a) Admirals 1 " 

b) Generals 12 " 

c) Colonels 81 " 

d) Lieutenant colonels 198 " 

e) Majors 548 " 

f ) Captains 1,490 " 

g) Naval captains 12 " 

h) Naval captains 1st rank 2 " 

i) Naval captains 2nd rank 3 " 
j) Other officers 6,055 " 
k) Priests 22 " 
1) Landowners 11 " 
m) High government officials 66 " 
n) Police and gendarmerie officers 240 " 
o) NCOs of the police and gendarmerie 775 " 
p) Rank-and-file police and gendarmerie 4,925 " 
q) Prison guards 189 " 
r) Intelligence agents and provocateurs 9 " 
s) [Military] settlers 35 " 


t) Merchants and major property holders 4 

u) Transferred from former Polish prisons 4 

v) Judiciary workers 5 

w) Son of a colonel 1 
x) Soldiers and NCOs (being sent to 

Construction Site no. 1 ) 77 
y) Others (being verified for a decision 

on their further referral) 92 

Camps for Prisoners of War Employed by Narkomchermet 

1. Karakuba Camp 87 

Total held in the camp 8 20 

Of these: a) NCOs and rank and file 816 
b) Police and gendarmerie 4 

2. Yelenovka Camp 
Total held in the camp 

Of these: a) Officers (left by the head of the 
Stalin OblastUNKVD) 

b) NCOs and rank and file 

c) Refugees 

3 . Zaporozhye Camp 
Total held in the camp 
Of these: a) NCOs and rank and file 

b) Refugees 

4. Oktiabrruda Camp 88 
Total held in the camp 
Of these: a) NCOs and rank and file 

5. Dzherzhinskruda Camp 
Total held in the camp 
Of these: a) Officers 

b) Police and gendarmerie 

c) NCOs and rank and file 

d) Refugees 

[6.] Nikopol Camp 
Total held in the camp 
Of these: a) NCOs and rank and file 
b) Refugees 


Total Prisoners of War Held in Narkomchermet 

Camps and Operations: 10,167 people 

Of these: a) NCOs and rank and file 9,999 " 

b) Newly discovered officers 3 " 

c) Police and gendarmerie (newly exposed) 59 " 

d) Refugees 106 " 

[7.] Rovno Camp 

Total held in the camp 12,702 people 

Of these: (a) Officers 4 

(b) Police and gendarmerie 11 " 

(c) NCOs and rank and file I2 - 5 593 " 

(d) Others (being verified for decision on 

their further destination) 94 " 

Total Held in Prisoner-of-War Camps 37,726 people 

GB Captain 

On 10 April 1940 the Sovnarkom [SNK — Council of People's Com- 
missars] approved Beria's instruction on deporting the POW families 
from western Ukraine and western Belorussia; it had approved the de- 
portation on 2 March 1940 (doc. 45). (For detailed instructions on the 
deportation, see doc. 64b.) 

Extermination 1 

• 64a • 

SNK Resolution Confirming the Deportation from Western UkSSR and BSSR 
of Individuals as Specified in the SNK Decision of 2 March 1940 s9 
10 April 1940, Moscow 

No. 1180/b 
Top Secret 
10 April 1940 
Moscow, the Kremlin* 
Resolution of the Council of People's Commissars USSR no. 497-177 ss. 
On Confirming the NKVD USSR Instruction "Regarding the 
Deportation from the Western Oblasts of the UkSSR and BSSR of the 
Persons Indicated in the SNK USSR Resolution of 2 March 1940, 
No. 289-127 ss." 90 

The USSR Council of People's Commissars hereby resolves: 

1. To approve the instruction submitted by the USSR NKVD for depor- 
tations from the western oblasts of the UkSSR and BSSR: 

a) of the families of former officers of the Polish Army, police, prison 
guards, gendarmes, intelligence agents, former landowners, manufactur- 
ers, officials of the former Polish state apparatus, and participants in c-r 
insurgent organizations being held in prisoner-of-war camps and prisons; 

b) of refugees from the territory of former Poland now in Germany who 
have expressed the desire to leave the borders of the Soviet Union for the 
territory now occupied by the Germans, but have not been accepted by the 
German government; 91 

c) of prostitutes previously registered with the organs of the former Pol- 
ish police who continue to engage in prostitution. 

2. To instruct the Sovnarkom of the Kazakh SSR to take the necessary 
measures to relocate the families enumerated in point i-a, numbering 
22,000-25,000 families in the northern oblasts of the Kazakh SSR, and to 
secure their living conditions and labor utilization. 92 

3. To obligate the NKPS [People's Commissariat of Communications] 
to provide for the conveyance of deported persons, eighty-one echelons of 
fifty-five train cars each, to the railway stations of the western oblasts of 

* In Molotov's hand in the top left corner: "Zii" For and signature in Mm pencil — "V. 
Molotov" — followed by "Za" after each of the following signatures in indelible pencil: "N. 
Vi 11 ns 1 \ hinsky, 1, \ 1 I \ nn, kngnnovich 

In the top right corner someone crossed out "Top Secret" and wrote: "Secret." 

Handwritten comment in ink on the reverse of the first page: "Gave for distribution im- 
mediately after signature of Com. Khlomos. 1 1 Apr:; 1 940, o hr. 55 min. P. Ivanov." 

Handwritten in the lower corner of the second page: "P. Ivanov. ro April r94o." 



the UkSSR and BSSR within the periods of time specified in the request of 

4. The USSR people's commissar of health (Com. Miterev) shall provide 
the echelons of deportees along the route of their journey with medical 
personnel and the necessary medications and equipment as per the re- 
quests of the USSR NKVD. 

5. To require the USSR Narkomtorg [People's Commissariat of Trade] 
to organize the feeding of the deportees along the route of their journey at 
points to be determined by the USSR NKVD. 

6. To require the USSR Narkomles [People's Commissariat of Forests] 
(Com. Antselovich) and Narkomchermet [People's Commissariat of Fer- 
rous Metallurgy] (Com. Samokhvalov) to carefully prepare the reception, 
placement, housing, and labor utilization of the deported families of refu- 
gees specified in point i-b, being sent to work in the enterprises of USSR 
Narkomles and Narkomchermet. 

7. To require the [local] executive committees where the refugees are be- 
ing deported to render the USSR NKVD, USSR Narkomles, and Narkom- 
chermet the necessary assistance in transporting and placing the deported 
families of refugees. 

8. The USSR Narkomfin [People's Commissariat of Finances] (Com. 
Zverev) shall make provision, based on the USSR NKVD estimate for 
1940, for an additional allocation in the amount of 30,250,000 rubles for 
expenses involved in deporting the individuals specified in point 1 of the 
present resolution. 

Chairman of the USSR SNK 
(V. Molotov) 

Head of the Chancellery USSR SNK 
(M. Khlomov) 

The deportation of the prisoners' families began on 13 April 1940. 
The detailed instructions on providing medical care and food for the 
transport of the deportees were observed more in the breach than in 
practice. Many died on the way from malnutrition and disease, espe- 
cially the old and the very young. According to the memoirs of sur- 
vivors, corpses were tossed out of the railway cars. When the deportees 
arrived at their destinations — state and collective farms in Soviet Cen- 
tral Asia — they faced primitive housing and living conditions, back- 
breaking labor, and wages insufficient to buy the food they needed. In- 
ability to meet — or fake — the work "norms" led to disease and death 
for many of the resettled Poles. 


■ 64b • 


Instruction on the Deportation of Specified Persons 
from the Western Oblasts of UkSSR and BSSR 
10 April 1940, Moscow 

[Enclosure with doc. 64a] 
Approved by the Decision of the SNK, USSR, 
of 10 April 1940, No. 497-177 ss. 
Instruction on the Deportation from the Western Oblasts of the 
UkSSR and BSSR of the Individuals Specified in the USSR SNK 
Resolution of 2 March 1940, No. 289-127 ss. 93 

1. The deportation of the families of the former officers of the Polish 
Army, police, prison guards, gendarmes, intelligence agents, former land- 
owners, manufacturers, officials of the former Polish state apparatus, and 
participants in c-r insurgent organizations being held in the prisoner-of- 
war camps and prisons of the western oblasts of the UkSSR and BSSR 
shall be implemented simultaneously throughout the UkSSR and BSSR on 
a day to be designated by the USSR NKVD. 94 

The deportation of refugees who have expressed the desire to leave for 
the territory of the former Poland now occupied by the Germans and who 
have not been accepted by the German government, and of prostitutes, 
shall also be implemented simultaneously on the days designated by the 

2. In [the course of] deporting the families specified in point 1 of this in- 
struction, the real estate and commercial and industrial enterprises of 
those being deported are to be confiscated and handed over to the local or- 
gans of power. The deportees have the right to sell or take all their re- 
maining property with them to their place of resettlement up to an amount 
not exceeding 100 kilograms of weight per family member. 

Comment: The deportees may take personal valuables (rings, watches, 
earrings, bracelets, cigarette cases, etc.) as well as Soviet currency (unlim- 
ited amount) with them. 

3. The dispatch of the deportees to their place of resettlement shall be 
carried out in echelons of fifty-five railcars each, equipped for human 
transport (including one passenger car for the guard, one equipped med- 
ical isolation car, and a shop car). Each car shall accommodate thirty 
adults and children and their belongings. For bulky items, four freight cars 
shall be assigned to each echelon. 

4. For each echelon, the USSR NKVD shall appoint an echelon head and 
the appropriate security. 



5. The USSR People's Commissariat of Health shall provide the eche- 
lons with medical staff based on the rate of one physician, one medical as- 
sistant, and two nurses per echelon, with the appropriate medications. 

6. The train cars required for the transport of the deportees shall be pro- 
vided by the NKVD as per the plan previously agreed upon by the USSR 

Five days before the provision of the train cars, the USSR NKVD shall 
present the NKPS with a notification for the echelons, specifying exactly 
the day the echelons are to be brought in, the loading stations, and the sta- 
tions of destination. 

7. Along the journey by rail, the deportees shall receive free hot food 
and 600 grams of bread per person once every twenty-four hours. The 
preparation and serving of food on the way shall be carried out at the re- 
quest of the echelon heads by the unions of railway restaurants and buffets 
of the USSR Narkomtorg. 96 

Payment for expenses incurred in feeding the deportees along the route 
shall be made by the echelon heads. 

8. The deportees shall be sent [as follows]: 

a) the families of POWs being held in the USSR NKVD camps and pris- 
ons of the western oblasts of the UkSSR and BSSR — to the Aktiubinsk, 
Kustanai, Northern Kazakhstan, Pavlodar, Semipalatinsk, and Akmolinsk 
Oblasts of the Kazakh SSR for a period of ten years; 

b) refugees who have expressed their agreement to leave for Germany 
[German Poland] and have not been accepted by the German govern- 
ment — to the northern regions of the USSR for resettlement in special set- 
tlements and utilization in logging operations and other work; 

c) prostitutes — to districts in the Kazakh and Uzbek SSRs (with the ex- 
ception of border districts). 

9. The transport of the families of the refugees specified in point 8b of 
this instruction from the stations of disembarkation to their place of set- 
tlement shall be organized by the USSR NKVD utilizing the vehicular 
transport of the enterprises belonging to the people's commissariats re- 
ceiving the deported refugees. 

When absolutely necessary, the krai [territorial] and oblast [regional] 
executive committees of the Councils of Workers' Deputies are required to 
put at the disposal of the USSR NKVD additional vehicular transport by 
involving local organizations and collective farms in this matter. 

10. In places where the refugees are resettled, USSR NKVD comman- 
dants' offices shall be created and shall function in compliance with the 
"Regulation on Special Settlements and the Labor System for [Military] 
Settlers, Deported from the Western Oblasts of the UkSSR and the BSSR," 

Extermination 175 

approved in the USSR SNK resolution of 29 December 1939, No. 2122- 
617 ss. 97 

USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
(L. Beria) 

The dispatch of the prisoners of war to their deaths began in early 
April 1940 (doc. 59). This 11 April 1940 report from Kozelsk shows 
that 1,643 officers were murdered in nine days. Camp commanders 
had to report to UPV the number of prisoners dispatched in every 
transport. 98 

• 65 • 

Korolev's Report to Soprunenko on the Number of Polish POWs 
11 April 1940, Kozelsk 

Top Secret 

To the Head of the NKVD UPV 
GB Captain Soprunenko 

I hereby report: on 11 April, 394 people were dispatched in accordance 
with the lists sent. 

In all, since 3 April, 1,643 people have been dispatched. 99 

Camp Commander 
GB Senior Lieutenant 
V. Korolev 

Beria clearly wanted to capture all Polish Army officers and police, 
hence the instruction to seek out any such prisoners who might be 
concealing themselves in labor camps. (Names are given in Polish 



■ 66 ■ 

Ivan Khokhlov's Instruction to Zaporozhye Camp Commander L. P. Lebedev 
to Seek Out Policemen and Officers among Polish POWs 
14 April 1940, Moscow 

No. 25/3784 
Top Secret 
Series K 
For Addressee Only 

To the Commander of Zaporozhye NKVD Camp 
GB Lieutenant Com. Lebedev 

According to information from the Zaporozhye Oblast UNKVD (No. 
1366541/14 of 28 March 1940), there are in your camp a number of 
POWs who are concealing their past service in the police or the fact that 
they belong to officer categories. 

Included among these are the following POWs: Edward Modzielak, 
Mieczysfaw Stolarek, and Krzysztof Siawihski (who served in the police); 
Koczyhski, Rysak, and Czerwiecki (lieutenants), Rankowski (a captain), 
and several other names that are not cited [here]. 

You are required: 

1. To establish immediately who, according to agency information, is 
reckoned to have served as policemen and officers. 

2. To call in all indicated persons personally and carefully interrogate 
them in order to establish their real employment status up to the moment 
they were taken prisoner. 

3. Immediately inform us about all the police and officers established as 
such on the basis of this questioning, attaching copies of the question- 
naires in order to receive instructions for their dispatch to the special 

4. 1 warn you that this operation must be carried out extremely carefully 
and within three days' time. 

5. Do not delegate the implementing of this instruction to the appara- 
tus. 100 

Deputy Head of the NKVD UPV 
GB Lieutenant 
(Khokhlov) 101 

This report, written by two UPV officers on 22 April 1940 — based 
on previous reports from each of the three camps — shows the moods 
of the prisoners as they were being dispatched unwittingly to their 



deaths. The rumors that they would be sent home were spread by 
NKVD camp personnel to avoid POW resistance. Other means to this 
end included anti-typhoid inoculations, routinely given to all prisoners 
transferred or released, and allowing the prisoners to give a festive 
send-off to senior officers. (Names are given in Polish spelling.) 

• 67 • 

litical Report of the USSR NKVD UPV to Merkulov on the Mood 
of Polish POWs Dispatched from the Three Special Camps 
Z2 April 1940, Moscow 

No. 25/3429 
Top Secret 

To the USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 3rd Rank 
Comrade Merkulov 

Political Report 

I. [A total of] 794 POWs were sent out from Starobelsk camp between 
10 and 14 April; since 5 April of this year, altogether 1,717 people have 
left, including: 

Generals 8 people 

Lieutenant colonels 36 " 

Colonels 61 " 

Majors 106 " 

Captains 436 " 

Other officers 1,170* " 

The remaining POWs are being held now exclusively in the camp zone, 
which has made it possible to concentrate the internal security personnel 
contingent and improve security. 102 There have been no escapes or at- 
tempted escapes. 

No negative moods have been noted other than those highlighted in the 
political report of 14 April of this year, No. 25/3301. 103 

Applications are arriving in large numbers from POWs requesting to be 
left in the USSR and not to be sent to the territory of Germany or a neutral 

* Merkulov underlined the number in red pencil and drew perpi ndicular strokes in the mar- 
gin. (The correct total is r,8i7.) 



country. The applications are being submitted mostly by POWs with spe- 
cial training — physicians, engineers, teachers. 

The content of the applications is of the following nature: 
[Prisoner no.] i. "I ask not to be handed over to any German or neutral 
power but to be given the opportunity to remain and work in the Soviet 
Union. I have the following grounds for making this request: 

1 ) Until now, I was apolitical, but recently I have gotten to know better 
and become strongly drawn to the ideology of the socialist country 
[USSR]. I do not doubt that I personally will be able to fulfill honorably 
the duty of a Soviet citizen. 

2) By specialty and education I am an engineer in the textile industry, 
and I do not doubt that my knowledge and experience will be very useful 
to the country of the Soviets. 

3) I am a Jew and was, until now, subjected to national oppression, 
which allows me to appreciate fully the policy of national freedom of the 
Soviet Union." ( Jerzy Altman.) 

[Prisoner no.] 2. "I ask with all my heart, in view of the liquidation of 
the camp, to be left in the USSR. I am a tailor's son . . . and do not want to 
go to Germany or any other country." (Abram Siemiontek.) 

[Prisoner no.] 3. A physician — a reserve lieutenant, Jakub Tenenbaum, 
writes: "When the camp is cleared out, I ask to be left in the USSR. Do not 
send me to any other country. I am a doctor, a medical worker, and [while] 
living in a capitalist country I saw all the injustice of that system, I saw the 
terrible life of poor people, and therefore I have always felt sympathy for 
the communist movement. I dreamed of living in the conditions of a free 
socialist state in which there is no national oppression, which I, as a Jew, 
have always felt." 104 

Other statements are analogous. [Members of] the regular officer con- 
tingent of Polish nationality have not been writing applications to remain 
in the USSR. 

II. In connection with the dispatch of POWs from Kozelsk camp that be- 
gan on 3 April 1940, most of the officers are calm and satisfied that they 
have lived to see their release from "slavish captivity." [They say,] "Wher- 
ever they take us is where we'll go, just so we don't stay here in the camp. " 

On the first day of the dispatch, among POWs in territory no. 2 [the 
Skit], there was some distress provoked by the fact that on the first day ten 
officers were taken from there, including five from the regular contingent 
and four [military] settlers. [Therefore] it was thought that they were be- 
ing sent not home but "somewhere," to some other place, and only on the 
second day, 4 April, when officers of various categories were dispatched, 
did the mood change. 



Conjectures have been expressed that they are being taken to the west, 
where four distribution centers have been created: Brest, Podvolochisk 
[Podwoioczyska], Busk, and Kobrin [Kobryh], where combined [German- 
Soviet] commissions have been created that will question each one as to 
where he would like to go — to a neutral country or to stay in the USSR — 
and after the questioning each will be asked to sign a declaration. In con- 
nection with this, the generals have issued an order that the officer POWs 
are not to sign any declarations. 

The greater part of the officer POWs who come from the German side 
[German Poland] have expressed their unwillingness to go to the territory 
of Poland occupied by Germany, but [say they] must leave for neutral 
countries from where they can reach France, volunteer for the French 
Army, and fight the Germans. Once Germany has been defeated, [they 
will] attack the USSR and restore Poland from the Oder River to the 
Dnieper River. 

Some officer POWs dream of reaching Romania, making their way to 
General Weygand's army, and making war on the Soviet Union. 105 

Some of the POWs whose families reside in German territory express 
the conviction that they are going to Germany and that there can be no 
question of leaving for neutral countries, for at the "distribution centers" 
they will be forced to sign a declaration of loyalty to the German govern- 
ment. Those people who refuse to sign a declaration will be sent to a camp 
deep in the Soviet Union. 

Individual POWs whose families reside in the territory of Ukraine and 
Belorussia (the western oblasts) are panicking, and among them one ob- 
serves a fear of going home. They explain the reason for their fear of re- 
turning to their homeland this way: 

"Here we are sitting calmly in the camp under the care of the NKVD 
and the camp authorities, and as [we are] POWs, no one will touch us. At 
home we will cease to be POWs, and as citizens of the USSR, we will be 
subject to the laws of the Soviet Union; there they can arrest us and jail us 
and judge us, since almost every one of us has committed some sin regard- 
ing the Soviet authorities." 

Instances of anti-Soviet manifestations have been noted. They express 
the opinion that "the USSR is ill at ease, since it is threatened by danger 
from its allies, and even though the Soviet Union is big, it stands on 'feet of 
clay' — one shove and it falls down." 

Prisoner-of-war Officer Birnbaum, a journalist in the past, goes from 
block to block giving lectures on anti-Soviet themes. 

Generally people have a passive attitude toward organized talks [by po- 
litical instructors], and they very often state: "Why do you keep stuffing us 


with your talks? We're in a 'suitcase mood' now, and here you are with 
your talks. Our minds are focused on when they're going to take us away 
and where." 

[But some] individuals, for instance, Tabaczyhski and the Rozahskis, fa- 
ther and son, make provocative statements, for example: "You don't have 
anything; everything's going for armaments. You knifed us in the back. 
But Poland will rise again and we're going to pay you back. You're going 
to be our prisoners yet." 

Prisoner-of-war Lieutenant Birnbaum, in the lectures he gives in the 
blocks, has tried to prove that a blow is being readied on the Turkish bor- 
der against the USSR by General Weygand's troops, whose assignment is 
to seize the oil regions in the Caucasus and thereby deprive the Soviet 
Union of fuel, which will lead to the disruption of industry and the [pro- 
duction of] mechanized units for the Red Army." 106 

Measures have been taken to stop the spread of anti-Soviet slander 
among the POWs. 

Individual officers are spreading rumors that the POWs, regardless of 
where their families are located, are being sent to Germany, and in con- 
nection with this [they] are making threats against those who have mani- 
fested a loyal attitude toward the Soviet Union. The latter, wishing to 
merit trust, are beginning to show themselves to be sharply anti-Soviet. 
For example, prisoner of war Nowik, because he suggested adding fire- 
wood to the stove in Russian, was attacked by prisoner of war Taba- 
czyhski, who not only insulted him but also threatened that "when we're 
released from captivity we'll settle the score with him." Tabaczyhski was 
put in the guardhouse for twenty days. Attempting to avenge Tabaczyhski, 
POWs Rozahskis (father and son) wanted to beat up Nowik. The Rozah- 
skis were put in the guardhouse. 

A negligible number of the POWs still do not believe they are being sent 
home, based on the fact that everyone being dispatched is carefully searched 
by the convoy and transported in prison cars. The POWs are trying to soften 
up the service personnel [so they will] explain where they are being sent. 

It has been established that information about the transport in prison cars 
leaked into the camp from the cinema technicians Levashov and Gorshkov. 
The service personnel have been warned sternly in connection with this. 

Some POWs say they are being sent to Smolensk. But they are not sure 
of this and are trying to explain that if they are taken off in Smolensk, then 
it will only be for feeding. 

The source of this information has not been precisely established, but 
there has been an instance when the convoy head from the zz6th Convoy 
Regiment, Political Instructor D. I. Fedorov, upon returning from his ser- 
vice trip, told certain camp associates that the POWs are being taken off 



[the train] in Smolensk, where they are received very rigorously and with 
every strictness. 107 In connection with which, this question is being passed 
around among individual camp workers. 

The talkativeness of Political Instructor D. I. Fedorov was reported to 
Colonel Comrade Stepanov and the battalion command.* 

It has been established that the higher ranks of the former Polish Army 
who are in the camp, gave the officers leaving in the first parties instruc- 
tions to write inscriptions in the cars they are going to travel in indicating 
their final stations so that those who follow can know where they are be- 
ing taken. 

On 7 April, upon the return of the first cars, an inscription was discov- 
ered in Polish: "Second party Smolensk 6 April 1940." 

In addition, all the walls of these cars had been written over previously, 
evidently in the transporting of prisoners, with the crudest of anti-Soviet 
inscriptions, under which many of the POWs had written inscriptions in 
Polish expressing their satisfaction with the content of these inscriptions. 

An order was given to wash them all off and to check the cars in the fu- 

For the purpose of the greatest possible isolation of POWs from service 
personnel, the latter have been reduced to a minimum in the camp zone, 
and access to the camp has been restricted for the rest. 

The overwhelming majority of officer POWs are certain they are going 
home. In connection with which a mood has been noticed to get going as 
quickly as possible, and they are turning to the camp administration [with 
requests] to be included in the next transport for departure. 

On 7 April, the prisoner-of-war generals Minkiewicz and Smorawihski 
tried to use their authority to influence the remaining POWs to demand 
departure for neutral countries. These generals issued an instruction that 
none of the officer POWs sign any declarations at the distribution centers 
obligating them to go to the territory of Germany or to remain in the 
USSR. Those who sign such declarations will be considered deserters from 
the Polish Army. 

This instruction from the generals was distributed by some of the offi- 
cers through the blocks, but it is notable that it has had no effect. Thus, on 
7 April, during the dispatch of the higher ranks, many remaining officers 
expressed satisfaction that they were not going with them, [thus] avoiding 
"landing in some problem [situation] with them." 

In connection with a certain break in the dispatch [of prisoners], due to 
the holdup of the lists, 108 the mood among the POWs has fallen [into de- 

* Merkulov's handwritten note in the left margin: "Remove Political Instructor Fedorov 
from convoying." 



pression]. Suppositions began to be spread by the POWs themselves that 
"on the basis of complications due to military actions in the west (the 
events in Norway), Germany has refused to accept prisoners of war." 

On 13 April prisoner of war Pienlowski expressed the opinion that 
"they're not going to be sending anyone out of the camp at all any more. 
They sent some, it's looser in the camp, and that's where it ended, and 
we're going to keep on sitting here." 

All these conversations have had an extremely dispiriting effect on the 
mass of the POWs. Many are going to the camp administration and ask- 
ing whether more will be sent away. Receiving an affirmative answer, they 
have left satisfied and conveyed this to the [other] POWs. 

Among individual POWs, all the talk about the dispatching being 
stopped has made them start thinking about trying to escape (Colonel 
Fronik and 2nd Lieutenants Zielehski/Zielihski and Jastrzebski).* 

III. In connection with the dispatch from Ostashkov camp, the mood 
among the majority of POWs is better, especially among the rank-and-file 
police, who are sure they are going home. Some individuals doubt this, 
and POWs from the territory of Germany say they have no desire to return 
to Germany. 

Those being sent out from the camp have, upon leaving, tossed out 
matchboxes with notes in which they write that "during the inspection 
they search for weapons, personal items and valuables are not taken away, 
they hear all grievances, treat us politely; from the search you cannot tell 
where they are sending us." 

The dispatch is proceeding in a calm, organized fashion. 109 

Commissar of the USSR NKVD UPV 
Regimental Commissar 

Deputy Head of the Political Section 
Senior Political Instructor 

In late April the UPV was making sure that even sick POWs would 
not be overlooked. 

* Merkulov drew perpendicular strokes in red pencil in the margin and wrote: "Keep an eye 


■ 68 • 


Khokhlov's Instruction to Camp Heads on Sending the Record Files 
for Hospitalized Polish POWs to the USSR NKVD UPV 
22 April 1940, Moscow 

No. 49560/10497 

Top Secret 
To Addressees Only 

To the Heads of the Ostashkov, Kozelsk, and Starobelsk Camps 
Com. Borisovets, Com. Korolev, Com. Berezhkov 

Regarding all POWs being held in camp infirmaries and municipal hos- 
pitals for whom record files with personal data have not been sent [to 
UPV] so far, immediately send their data files with information on which 
hospital they are staying in and their state of health. 110 In the absence of 
photo cards in the records and lacking the possibility of photographing 
these POWs, send the files without the photo cards. 


Most prisoners sent to Yukhnov camp, situated due north of Ko- 
zelsk, were exempted from the death lists for various reasons: interest 
by Soviet intelligence, official requests from Germany or Italy, and the 
perception of their potential usefulness to the USSR. 

• 69 • 

NKVD UPV Directive to the Heads of Ostashkov, Kozelsk, 
and Starobelsk Camps on Sending Certain Prisoners to Yukhnov Camp 
22 April 1940, Moscow 

No. 25/3434 
Top Secret 
Series K 
To Addressees Only 

To the Heads of the Ostashkov, Kozelsk, and Starobelsk Camps 
Com. Borisovets, Com. Korolev, Com. Berezhkov 

In accordance with the order of Deputy Commissar of Internal Affairs 
USSR, GB Commissar 3rd Rank Com. Merkulov, immediately send the 
POWs held in your camp, numbering [number not given], according to 
the list enclosed to Yukhnov camp, Babynino Station on the Western Rail- 
way Line. 111 



On departure, provide each prisoner with the necessary food. 

For each prisoner sent, establish a new evidence file and hand over these 
sealed files to the convoy for [delivery to] the head of the Yukhnov camp. 

At the same time, make an etap [transport stage] list, a copy of which 
immediately send to us. 

The departure destination (Yukhnov camp) is subject to strict secrecy. 
No one in the camp apparatus, except for yourself and the head of URO 
[Reception, Records, and Barracks Assignment Section], should know 
where the prisoners named are to be sent. 

We have put in the request for the convoy and the railway cars through 
the NKVD Main Administration of Convoy Troops. 

Deputy Head of the NKVD UPV 

Head of the 2nd Department of UPV 

GB Lieutenant 


The removal of a prisoner's file from "control" and submitting it for 
"examination" meant that their cases would be reviewed. 

• 70 • 

Arkady Gertsovsky's Instruction to Khokhlov on Submitting 
Certain POW Files for Examination 
25 April 1940, Moscow 

No. 9/30-49-30 
Instruction for the Deputy Head of the NKVD UPV, 
GB Lieutenant Com. Khokhlov 

I hereby request that you remove from records' control and submit for 
examination the files for the POWs detained in the USSR NKVD camps 
from the attached list. 

Enclosure — list for twelve people [names are given in Polish spelling] 

Deputy Head of the USSR NKVD, 1st Special Department 
GB Captain Gertsovsky 



List of Prisoners of War Located in USSR NKVD Camps 
Whose Files Are Subject to Ex; 

1. Walicki, Witold, son of Aleksander 

2. Czernicki, Ksawery, son of Edward 

3. Bross, Juliusz, son of Edward 

4. Grabowski, Wlodzimierz, son of Jozef 

5. Nowakowski, Witold, son of Edmund 

6. Sikorski, Bronislaw, son of Stanislaw 

7. Prokop, Franciszek, son of Mateusz 

8. Swoboda, Jan, son of Edward 

9. Teodorowicz, Aleksy, son of Aleksander 

10. Janisz, Aleksander, son of Jan 

11. Janasik, Franciszek, son of Jozef 

12. Safacinski, Zygmunt, son of Tomasz 

Starobelsk camp 
Kozelsk camp 
Ostashkov camp 

Deputy Head of the 1 
GB Captain 
25 April 1940 

: Special Department of the USSR NKVD 

In a few cases prisoners were saved from death at the last possible 
moment. The best known is Stanislaw Swianiewicz, a professor at the 
prewar Stefan Batory University, Wilno [Vilnius]. 

• 71 • 

Gertsovsky to Khokhlov on Sending Polish POW S. Swianiewicz, 
Held in Kozelsk Camp, into the Charge of the USSR NKVD 114 
28 April 1940, Moscowf 

No. 03692 

To the Deputy Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
GB Lieutenant Com. Khokhlov 

On the instruction of USSR People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
Com. Beria, I request you to issue an instruction on the transit by stages 
to Moscow, to the interior prison of the USSR NKVD, to the charge of 

a " Handwritten note on page 1: "Reply given: about Grabowski and Nowakowski No. 25/ 
3499. 25 April. Goberman." 

t Handwritten notes on document: "Com. Makliarsky. Give instruction. 28 April 40. 
Khokhlov." And, "Carried out. Information sent. M[akliarsky]. 28 April 1940." 


the znd Department of Glavnoe Upravlenie Gosudarstvennoi Bezopas- 
nosti [GUGB — Main Administration for State Security], of prisoner of 
war Stanisiaw Swianiewicz, born [in] 1899 (file no. 42.87), who is being 
held in Kozelsk camp. 115 
Please inform me of the day of dispatch. 

Deputy Head of the 1st Special Department of the USSR NKVD 
GB Captain 
A. Gertsovsky 

The records of the NKVD 236th Convoy Regiment show how many 
Ostashkov prisoners were transported daily to the NKVD prison at 
Kalinin/Tver between 6 and 29 April: a total of 5,291 prisoners. Ac- 
cording to the deposition of the NKVD Kalinin Oblast chief Dmitry 
Tokarev, the victims in each batch of about 250 people were shot one 
by one in the cellar of the prison, generally within twenty-four hours of 
arrival. They were buried secretly about 20 kilometers from Kalinin, 
near the village of Mednoe, where NKVD officers had their country 
cottages. It is possible, however, that some were shot at the edge of a 
burial pit (see the introduction to Part II). 

• 72 • 

n the Dispatch of Polish POWs from Ostashkov Camp 
between 6 and 29 April 
After 29 April 1940, Moscow 

Summary Report on the Dispatch of Polish Prisoners of War 
from Ostashkov Camp between 6 and 29 April 1940 


[Echelon No.] 

6 April 

494 people 

(No. 22) 

8 April 

349 " 

(No. 25) 

2-33 " 

(No. 28) 

10 April 

(No. 28) 

12 April 


(No. 30) 

(No. 30) 116 

299 " 

(No. 32) 

16 April 


(No. 34) 

17 April 


(No. 36) 

Extermination 187 

1 8 April 

345 " 

(No. 39) 

[no date] 

136 " 

(No. 41) 

zi April 

296 " 

(No. 43) 

22 April 

292 " 

(No. 45) 

(No. 47) 

24 April 

294 " 

(No. 50) 

25 April 


(No. 53) 

26 April 

294 " 

(No. 65) 

188 " 

(No. 66) 

By 3 May, the UPV together with the 1st Special Department NKVD 
and with the personal help of Merkulov, had processed the cases of 
14,908 prisoners and sent out dispatch lists — death sentences — for 
13,682. Since it was impossible for the Troika — Merkulov, Kobulov, 
and Bashtakov — to process thousands of cases between 5 March and 
early May 1940, it is likely that they simply signed or stamped the 
"Kobulov Forms" (doc. 51) with the death warrant already filled in. A 
similar method had been used with case summaries of Soviet Poles ar- 
rested during the Stalin purges of 1936-193 8. 118 However, in 1940 
the NKVD had an interest in sparing some of the Polish prisoners of 
war. Therefore, 395 were sent to Yukhnov camp; they were selected to 
live (see docs. 84, 85.) 

• 73 • 

Soprunenko's Report on the Cases against Polish POWs 
in Ostashkov, Starobelsk, and Kozelsk Camps 
3 May 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 
Report on the Progress of Cases 

:. Lists have been sent to the camps for 13,682 people 

Of these: a) To Kozelsk camp 4,252 people 

b) To Starobelsk camp 3,75° 

c) To Ostashkov camp 5,680 

188 Extermination 

2. Remaining in the ist Special Department are cases on 154 people 
Of these: a) For Kozelsk camp — * 

b) For Starobelsk camp — 

c) For Ostashkov camp — 

3 . Awaiting special orders are cases on 609 people 
Of these: a) For Kozelsk camp 144 people 

b) For Starobelsk camp 26 " 

c) For Ostashkov camp 439 

4. For correction in the camps are cases on 29 people 
Of these: a) For Ostashkov camp 1 5 people 

b) For Starobelsk camp 14 " 

c) For Kozelsk camp — 

5. Sent to Yukhnov camp 200 people 

6. Ongoing cases 49 people 

7. Cases prepared for reports 185 people 

Total cases processed 14,908 people 119 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
GB Captain (Soprunenko) 

On 4 May, Soprunenko had instructed the heads of the three camps 
to telegraph the number of POWs held in their camps as of 3 May. 120 


Sopmnenko's Report on POWs Left in Camps 
Not earlier than 5 May 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 

Report on the Number of Prisoners of War in NKVD Camps 
According to the Status as of 5 May 1940 

1. Starobelsk camp — the camp holds 88 people 

2. Kozelsk camp — the camp holds 270 people 

3. Ostashkov camp — the camp holds 707 people 
Total held in these camps 1,065 people 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
GB Captain (Soprunenko) 

A dash i — i indicates where figures are missing in the document. 


In May 1940, it was decided to transfer prisoners doing forced labor 
in the Krivoy Rog mining camps to the Sevzheldorlag [Northern Rail- 
way camp], at Kotlas Railway Station, to build a railway line from 
North Pechora to Vorkuta. As with all instructions regarding feeding, 
clothing, and caring for the health of prisoners and deportees during 
their transport to a new location, this one, too, was more likely to have 
been observed in the breach than in practice. 

• 75 • 

Deputy People's Commissar for Internal Affairs Chernyshov's Directive 
to G. I. Antonov on Transporting Polish POWs from the 
Krivoy Rog Basin to the Northern Railway Camp 121 
10 May 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 
Note for Transmission by Direct Line 
Krivoy Rog NKVD Camp 
To Antonov 

Except for the 2,000 people being sent to NKVD Construction Site no. 
i, 122 send all the remaining POWs located in the camps of Dzherzhin- 
skruda, Oktiabrruda, Leninruda, and Nikopol-Marganets to Kotlas Sta- 
tion, address NKVD Northern Railway camp. 

NKVD UPV deputy head Khokhlov is leaving to direct the dispatch. 

Appoint to each echelon an echelon head, a political instructor, a house- 
keeping chief. Complete the number of housekeeping personnel with ver- 
ified POWs [trusties]. 

Supply the echelon with the necessary housekeeping inventory [as well 
as] with field kitchens for the organization of feeding [the transportees] 
with hot food on the journey and provide a fifteen-day supply of food- 

Provide hot food [on] the journey [according] to the rates for POWs of 
the rank-and-file contingent. 

Depending [on] what there is in the camp, provide each prisoner of war 
with bedding, a pair of underwear, boots. After providing them [with the 
above], send all the material provisions remaining in the camp, bedding, 
housekeeping inventory, as well as foodstuffs, with the echelon. 

Compile a detailed protocol for the entire inventory sent, the foodstuffs, 
and the material provisions, and deliver [them] to the head of the echelon 
[in exchange] for a receipt. 



Before dispatching [the prisoners], conduct a thorough hygiene opera- 
tion, sending the bedding through the disinfecting chamber. 

Conduct a medical survey of the people to be transported to establish 
the possibility of their traveling with the transport according to their state 
of health. 

Do not include patients with fevers or acute illnesses [in] the transport. 
If the number in the echelon is a thousand or more, equip it with a med- 
ical isolation car. 

Appoint medical personnel to accompany the echelon to the designated 
destination, calculating one medic for up to 500 people, two medics for 
500 to 1,000 people, and one physician and two medics for over 1,000. 

The health service of the sender camp shall issue a health transit card 
[with] data on the state of health of those being sent and the absence of 
epidemic illnesses [in] the camp. 

Hand over to the head of the echelon all registration files for the POWs 
being sent according to the [file] list, having inserted in them a model 3 
card, including those with photo cards. 

Compile the echelon lists strictly according to instruction. After the dis- 
patch [of the prisoners], report separately how many rank and file and 
noncommissioned officers there are. 

Immediately provide information [as to] the station to which the train 
cars should be sent and as to the station where the echelons are to be 
formed. No. 2.7/3976. 


This report gives the number of lists of names received in the camp 
and the number of prisoners sent out from Kozelsk camp to their 
deaths on each date between 3 April and n May and those spared 
who were to be sent elsewhere, showing a total of 4,602 sent. The last 
transport, dispatched on 12 May, was redirected to Yukhnov (Baby- 
nino Station), which saved the prisoners' lives. The only other trans- 
port of Kozelsk prisoners sent there during this period of time was dis- 
patched on 26 April. 


• 76 • 


Korolev's Report on the Number of Orders for Polish POW Death Transports 
and the Number of Prisoners Dispatched from Kozelsk Camp to Smolensk, 
Moscow, and Yukhnov According to USSR NKVD UPV Lists 123 
14 May 1940, Kozelsk 

Top Secret 


List Numbers 








1-2 April 






- 015/1 





- 017/1, 




- 1/17/3 





- 025/2, 









- 025/3 



- 029/2, 





- 029/4, 








- 032/3, 













- 036/2, 




- 036/4 



- 040/2, 












- 052/2, 


- 052/4 


















To Moscow 








* All departures, unless otherwise indicated, were to Smolensk, or to Gnezdovo through Smolensk, 
for execution. 


Total received [number of 

names on lists] 4,620 
[Number] of these [for]: 

a) Yukhnov 200 

b) Moscow 1 

c) [Total] according 

to the lists 4,419 

Camp Commander 

GB Lieutenant V. Korolev 

Total [prisoners] sent 

[out] 4,602 
[Number] of these [sent to]: 
Yukhnov 198 
Moscow 1 
[Total] according to the 

lists 4,403 1: 

Errors were often made in the dispatch lists sent to the camps, as this 
report shows. 

• 77 • 

Borisovets's Report on the Dispatch of Polish POWs Sent to Kalin 
Oblast UNKVD and the Number Remaining in the Camp 
17 May 1940, Ostashkov 

Top Secret 

Report of the Ostashkov Distribution Camp to the USSR NKVD 
[Administration] for Prisoner-of-War Affairs 

1. An order was given to send 6,263 people to the Kalinin Oblast 

Sent by stages to the UNKVD were 6,229. 125 Held back for various rea- 
sons were 35 people. 

a) Order mistakenly given by the center [for] 4 people. 

b) Also for 2 men, which is being clarified. 

c) Order given twice by mistake for (1) person [Czechowicz]. 

d) Previously sent to other cities (2) people. 

e) Detained on instruction from the center — 9 people. 

f ) Deceased who had been subject to dispatch — 16 people. 

2. Order for dispatch to Yukhnov camp — 99 people; 98 dispatched. 
One detained, having been sent previously to the Kalinin Oblast 


3. Remaining in the camp — 73 people. 

Commander of Ostashkov Camp 
Major Borisovets 
[Enclosure] 126 



A report to Soprunenko shows the number of people destined for 
execution according to the lists received at Starobelsk camp and the 
number dispatched between 5 April and iz May 1940. Before exter- 
mination began, the camp held 3,896 prisoners (see Appendix, table 
2D, 16 March). The figure of 3,810 victims (see table below) is higher 
than the verified Polish figure of 3,739, but an even higher figure is 
possible. According to witness testimony (Syromiatnikov), the prison- 
ers were executed in the cellar of the NKVD inner prison in Kharkov, 
but exhumations in the 1990s indicate that some were shot at the bur- 
ial site. The cover letter itemizes errors in the dispatch lists. 

• 78 • 

Berezhkov's Letter to Soprunenko on the Number of Lists Received 
and the Number of Polish POWs Dispatched from Starobelsk Camp 
between 5 April and 12 May 1940, with Reports Attached 
18 May 1940, Starobelsk 

No. 36/106 
Top Secret 

To the Head of the USSR NKVD Administration for Prisoner-of-War 

GB Captain Com. Soprunenko 

Presenting herewith information on the number of lists received for the 
dispatch of POWs and on the number of POWs dispatched from the camp 
between 5 April and iz May 1940, 1 report that I have received lists for 
3,891 people and sent 3,885 people accordingly, and that without lists (on 
the basis of your cipher communication of iz May 1940) 3 people were 
sent to the znd Department of the USSR NKVD in Moscow, for a total of 
3,888 people dispatched. 127 

The lists sent [to me] included Edward Marzec and Edward Bokser, 
whom we had excluded according to the report on their health status, be- 
cause they had left for the hospital in Kharkov for treatment. 

In the list of 3 April 1940, under No. 75, and on the list of zj April 
1940, No. 053/z, under No. 56, the same individual was listed twice — 
Krzyzanowski, Edward, son of Stanislaw. 

In addition, the lists included Mardas-Zylinski, Tadeusz, son of Michal; 



Barbiulek, Michal, son of Jakub; and Jekatov, Leon, son of Eugeniusz, 
who are definitely not present in Starobelsk camp. 128 

Commander of Starobelsk NKVD Camp 
GB Captain Berezhkov 


Information on the Number of Lists Received between 3 April 
and 10 May 1940 from the USSR NKVD Administration 
for Prisoner-of-War Affairs on Prisoners of War 
to Be Sent Out from Starobelsk Camp 


For How 

Serial No. 

List Nos. 


Many Peop 

3 4 40 


■ ; 



no number 




7 4 40 























1 00 







1 00 








021/1 * 




















1 00 



1 06 








For How 

Serial No. 

List Nos. 


Many People Remark 








































Commander of Starobelsk Camp 
GB Captain Berezhkov 

Information on the Number of Prisoners of War Sent 
from Starobelsk Camp between 5 April and iz May 1940 

When Sent 

Serial No. [day.month.year] Where Sent Number Sent 

1. 1.4.40 Kharkov UNKVD 195 
[should be 5.4.40] 

2. 6.4.40 " 200 

3. 7.4.40 " 195 

4. 8.4.40 " 170 

5. 9.4.40 " 163 

6. 10.4.40 " 200 

7. 11.4.40 " 170 

8. 12.4.40 " 164 

9. 13.4.40 " 130 

10. 14.4.40 " 130 

11. 15.4.40 " 107 

12. 16.4.40 " 260 

13. 17.4.40 " 260 

14. 18.4.40 " 75 

15. 19.4.40 " 200 

16. 20.4.40 " 130 


Serial No. 

When Sent 

Where Sent 

Number Sent 


















Yukhnov camp 129 




Kharkov UNKVD 










Yukhnov camp 






2nd Department, 




[added later by 



Commander of Starobelsk NKVD Camp 
GB Captain Berezhkov 

More prisoners were dispatched from all three camps by about 19 
May. Those selected for survival were sent to Yukhnov camp (Pavli- 
shchev Bor sanatorium grounds, Babynino Station), although some 
were killed later. 

• 79 • 

UPV Information on the Implementation of Orders to Send Polish POWs from the 
Special Camps into the Charge of the UNKVD of the Corresponding Oblasts 
Not earlier than 19 May 1940, Moscow 


Ostashkov Camp 

1. Orders given for dispatch to UNKVD * 6,263 people 

* " + " added by hand. 


z. Dispatched to the UNKVD 

3 . Instructions not implemented for 
Of these: 

Included by mistake 
Duplicate instructions for 

Sent previously to the UNKVD 

(Kalinin and Chernigov) 

Held back on the basis of an NKID 

[People's Commissariat of Foreign 

Affairs] letter 

4. Subject to dispatch to Yukhnov camp 
Of these: 


Sent mistakenly from this category to 
the UNKVD 


6 people 
1 person 
16 people 

Kozelsk Camp 

1. Orders given for dispatch to UNKVD 

2. Sent 

3 . Instructions not implemented for 
Of these: 

By directive of GUGB 5th Department 2 
Mistakenly included 2 
Duplicate instructions written for the 

same person 4 
Sent previously to Smolensk Oblast UNKVD 3 
Sent to the charge of the GUGB 

NKVD 2nd Department 1 
Died 1 
In Smolensk Psychiatric Hospital 2 
Held back on the basis of an NKID letter 1 

4. Subject to dispatch to Yukhnov camp 
Of these: 


Left behind from this category due 
to illness 


98 people ■ 


* " + 51" added by hand. 
+ "+ 12" added by hand. 

* "+ 1 " added by hand. 
5 "+ 4" added by hand. 


Starobelsk Camp 

i. Orders given for dispatch to the UNKVD 3,8n people* 132 

Soviet leaders received many letters from the deported wives and 
children of POWs held in the three camps, who appealed for the re- 
lease of their husbands and fathers. This letter reached the Central 
Committee of the Communist Party, USSR. 133 

Petition from the Children of Polish POWs to Stalin to Release Their Fathers 
from Ostashkov Camp (punctuated as in the original text) 
20 May 1940, Rozovka, Zaporozhye Oblast" 1 " 

20 May 1940 

Beloved Father Stalin 

We little children [come] with a great plea to the Great Father Stalin 
[and] from a burning heart ask [him] to return to us our fathers who are 
working in Ostashkov. We were sent from western Belorussia to Siberia 
and we were not allowed to take anything with us. It's hard for us to live 
now, all children have mothers who are not well and can't work. No one 
thinks of us, how we are living and there's no work — they won't give [us] 
any. For this [reason] we little children are dying of hunger and we humbly 
ask Father Stalin not to forget about us. We will always be good working 
people in the Soviet Union only it's hard for us to live without our fathers. 
Goodbye father, 

[Polish spellings: last name, first name.] 
Denyszyn, Iwan 134 
Jedrzejczyk, Zbigniew 135 
Zawadzki, Figej 136 
Kowalewska, Barbara 137 
(signatures in pencil) 

* " + n" added by hand. 

t Stamps on the document: "Received in TsK VKP(b), 27 May 1940." And, "Secretariat 
NKVD USSR, 5 June 1940." 


NKVD troops were rewarded for completing special tasks — in this 
case, convoy troops for "clearing out" Kozelsk camp and convoying 
the prisoners to their place of execution. 

• 81 • 

Command Order to the 136th Detached Convoy Battalion on the Successful 
Execution of the Assignment to "Clear Out" Kozelsk Camp 138 
21 May 1940, Smolensk 

Order to the 136th Detached Convoy Battalion of the Convoy Troops of 
zi May 1940 
No. 119/a 

CONTENTS: On the Rewards for Carrying Out 
an Operational Assignment 

Between 23 March and 13 May 1940, the znd Company and the 1st 
Platoon of the 1st Company completed one of the important assignments 
set by the Main Administration of Convoy Troops and the Brigade Com- 
mand [in] clearing out the Kozelsk NKVD prisoner-of-war camp. Despite 
all the strain and complexity of the operation, both in the convoying as 
well as in the guarding of the camp itself, the set assignment to clear out 
the camp without permitting a single escape by POWs or [any] service vi- 
olation was carried out. The representative of the USSR NKVD Main Ad- 
ministration of Convoy Troops, Colonel Com. Stepanov, evaluated the 
work done as good. An especially model example in the implementation 
of the assignment both in the guarding as well as in the convoying [work] 
for this period was set by the following comrades: Unit Commander of the 
2nd Company Com. Tatarenko, [who] exceptionally precisely, compe- 
tently, and ably executed the important and responsible role assigned to 
him in this operation as head of the operational group. 

Unit Commander of the 2nd Company Com. Korablev excellently per- 
formed his duty as convoy commander. Platoon Commander of the 1st 
Company 2nd Lieutenant Com. Bezmozgy, despite the fact that he was 
fulfilling for the first time the duties of a convoy head, handled his as- 
signment excellently. In addition, the entire personnel contingent of the 
troops, commanded by 2nd Lieutenant Com. Bezmozgy, participated in 
carrying out the work assigned to them and performed it excellently with- 
out a single violation of the law. Platoon Commander of the 2nd Com- 


pany 2nd Lieutenant Com. Koptev, being the convoy head, excellently 
carried out the assignment set him — for [all of] which I declare thanks to 
all the comrades listed above and reward [them as follows]: Com. 
Tatarenko, 70 rubles; Com. Korablev, 50 rubles; Com. Bezmozgy, 70 ru- 
bles; Com. Koptev, 70 rubles. 

Red Army soldiers of the znd Company, Corns. Pavlenko, Gavrilov, 
Dubrov, Prokofiev, Panov, V. L. Zakharov, M. F. Sharin, [and] Red Army 
soldiers of the 1st Company, Corns. Antropov, Khramtsov, Ponomarev, 
Shchukin [and] Kuchumov, have excellently performed their duties, for 
which I declare thanks and reward [them as follows]: Com. Pavlenko 
[with] 60 rubles; Corns. Zakharov, Sharin, Antropov, Khramtsov, Pono- 
marev, Kuchumov, and Shchukin with ten days' home leave each. I thank 
Corns. Gavrilov, Dubrov, and Prokofiev and reward them with 25 rubles 

Battalion Dispatcher Com. Goriachko performed his work exception- 
ally precisely, seriously, and competently, for which I thank him. 

Battalion Commander, Major Mezhov 

Battalion Military Commissar, Senior Political Instructor Snytko 
For Battalion Chief-of-Staff, Lieutenant Uglov 

One of the last executions of POWs from the Ostashkov camp took 
place on zz May 1940. On that day, camp commanders, except for 
Ostashkov, received orders from the UPV to collect all prisoner data 
cards and send them to Moscow. Ostashkov prisoners were still being 
executed that day, so their cards were sent in later. 139 

• 82 • 

Tokarev's Report to Merkulov on Sixty-Four Executions Carried Out 
22 May 1940, Kalinin 

No. 19690 
Top Secret 

Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Com. Merkulov 
22 May, 64 implemented. 22 May, Tokarev 

From 3 October 1939 to late May 1940, Ostashkov camp was used 
to hold policemen, gendarmes, prison workers, and military settlers, 
but prisoners in the last two categories were moved to prisons in late 



February 1940. The camp commander's report on the prisoners' stay 
in the camp includes information on prisoner files, a record of the 
Ostashkov prisoners sent to their deaths in Kalinin/Tver, and an ac- 
counting of how the prisoners' labor reduced the expense of their up- 

• 83 • 

Borisovets's Report to Soprunenko on the Sojourn 
of Polish POWs in Ostashkov Camp 
25 May 1940, Ostashkov 

No. 383/ss 
Top Secret 
To the Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
GB Captain 
Com. Soprunenko 
Report on Ostashkov Prisoner-of-War Camp 

A. Daily Regime and Security 

In Ostashkov camp, there was a special contingent of White [anticom- 
munist] Polish POWs 140 — police, gendarmes, prison guards, intelligence 
agents, counterintelligence agents, provocateurs, etc. — which required 
high-quality security. 

The internal security [staff], assembled on the basis of the list [of con- 
scripts] in the mobilization plan, was unable to carry out such major as- 
signments. Reinforcement was required with a younger contingent and an 
appropriate party layer, which was done by the camp [party members 
were added from the camp personnel]. The internal security staff (forty- 
four people) was complete. 

External security — a company of the Z35th Detached Battalion of the 
nth Brigade of USSR NKVD Convoy Troops, numbering nz people — 
served [as security] along the [camp] perimeter. In April this year, it was re- 
placed by the izth Company of the 236th Convoy Regiment, which pro- 
ceeded to carry out the service incomparably better. 

In order to strengthen security around Stolbny Island on Seliger Lake, a 
prohibited zone was established that is 250 meters wide. The Ostashkov 
District Executive Committee issued a resolution on the prohibited zone 
and informed the surrounding population. 

The technical measures to strengthen security were [the following]: 



1) The installation of a high-quality barbed wire fence around the camp 
in two circles of twelve rows each and crosswise (two rows crosswise) for 
a length of 1,855 meters. 

2) The building of a new fence 2.5 meters high and 580 meters long — in 
addition to the existing enclosure. 

3) The installation of electrical lighting around the camp (eight search- 
lights put in). 

4) The installation of telephone communications with internal and ex- 
ternal guard posts. 

5 ) Finally, bases of assistance among the local population were created. 

All these measures had their proper effect on security. With this rein- 
forcement the dangerous element of counterrevolution from the West 
could be securely guarded. 141 

True, this winter there was one instance of escape, but timely discovery 
made it possible to organize a pursuit and detain him. 

It is typical, too, that the fact of the escape was discovered by internal se- 
curity, the block commander, and not the operational section [Intelligence]. 

The quality of the internal security service team and of the 236th Con- 
voy Regiment unit can be evaluated as satisfactory. 

B. The Contingent [Prisoners] 

1. The total contingent supplied 15,991 people: 

a) Rank-and-file army contingent 9,4 1 3 people 

b) Special contingent and officers 6,578 " 

2. Total sent by stages I 5?99 I people: 

a) To Germany z ,3 1 3 " 

b) To Latvia 7 " 

c) Released to their homes 7,094 " 

d) Sent by stages to NKVD organs 13 " 

e) Sent to other camps 235 " 

f) Sent to Kalinin OblastUNKVD 6,288 " 142 

g) Died in the camp 41 " 

h) In Kalinin Psychiatric Hospital 1 " 

Total: 15,991 people 

3 . Prisoner-of-war records 

a) Registration files opened for POWs 7,43° 

b ) Questionnaires completed for rank and file 8,150 

(received according to the lists without 

completing questionnaires 1,2.63) 

c) Photographed 6,240 

d) Fingerprinted 6,407 



4. Complaints and petitions 

On various issues the POWs submitted 1,365 complaints, which were 
examined by the camp command. The majority of the complaints con- 
cerned the confiscation of belongings in places of preventive confinement 
without issuing a receipt. Many belongings have been returned at the 
camp's request. Some of the statements requested that the [petitioners] be 
released home as quickly as possible, and about fifty requests were ad- 
dressed to higher offices to the names of Comrades Stalin, Molotov, and 

5. Disturbances 

There have been no disturbances during the time of the camp's exis- 
tence. Incidentally, the camp held a contingent of the most criminal coun- 
terrevolutionaries. 143 True, there were attempts on the part of [Polish] 
counterintelligence to organize external observation; they set up sentry 
posts for the purpose of studying the camp's work methods and service, 
but this was uncovered in good time and the camp command took the nec- 
essary measures (isolation, arrests, and other regulation measures). 

C. Camp Maintenance and Expenses 

All expenses to maintain the POWs at Ostashkov camp for their eight- 
month stay (including the staff) come to 5,070,041 rubles and 56 ko- 

The value of property remaining in the camp is expressed in the sum of 
1,619,540 rubles, not counting the housing area restored from destroyed 
stone buildings by the manual labor of the POWs — 2,489 cubic meters; 
the newly constructed wooden housing — 1,651 cubic meters; the service 
[staff] quarters — 2,444 cubic meters; and the 270 meters of dikes, 30- 
meter bridge, and others. 

All these jobs are worth 350,000-400,000 [rubles]. 

The stay of the POWs in the camp expressed in man-days is [worth] 
1,241,880 [rubles]. 

In this way, the maintenance of one prisoner of war per day cost the 
state (not counting the work done by the prisoners themselves) 2 rubles 
78.2 kopecks. 

If we count the value of property made by the hands of the POWs, then 
their upkeep per day drops to 2 rubles 58 kopecks. 

D. Operational and Political Provision 

Up until January [1940], I, as the camp commander, did not have opera- 
tional [intelligence] service. The materials presented to me were third-rate 
or not full-value data. How the prisoners lived, what interested them, 
what shortcomings there were in the units performing the security (inter- 


nal and external) — I did not possess these data. All this work, both with 
the prisoners and with my staff, had to be done [as though we were] grop- 
ing in the dark. 

For the same reason, until December 1939, the political security [work] 
was clearly insufficient. If to this we add the fact that the political appara- 
tus did not have any experience in the work and was, for the most part, in 
a mood to be demobilized, then clearly all this hindered the [camp] com- 
missar in developing political work to its full extent, so he had to carry it 
out in [separate] segments. 

After November 1939, there were certain advances in general security, 
as the party organization stated numerous times at its meetings, but the 
full range of work was not achieved until early 1940. 

E. Conclusions 

1. The introduction by the camp of heads of blocks (from among the 
watchmen) for guarding the prisoners in their quarters justified itself and 
yielded good results for reconnoitering the contingent. 

z. The organization of work procedures reduced the cost to the state of 
maintaining the prisoners and hindered them from forming groups, orga- 
nizing disturbances, etc., which in the opinion of the command should be 
taken into consideration in future camps. 

3. Shortcomings: 

a) For a long period discipline in the camp was weak because 90 percent 
of the camp personnel had not undergone any kind of military training be- 
fore being conscripted to [work at] the camp. 

b) The absence of detailed regulations for the camp led to multiple au- 
thorities, when the deputy, the assistant, and the head of the Special Sec- 
tion also considered themselves camp commanders, replaced the head of 
the camp himself as the sole authority, and issued a great many contradic- 
tory instructions that undermined the authority of the commander. 

c) The weak service preparation of the internal security unit command 
made it necessary at the beginning to overload it with service and train- 
ing — and this created dissatisfaction. 

d) The weak [preparation] of the URO workers at first slowed the work. 
The Special Section, by using the URO [workers] in creating its own regis- 
tration data, lowered the quality of the URO registration itself. 

e) The Housekeeping Department lacks an apparatus capable of keep- 
ing its accounts, as a result of which its work was poorly planned, al- 
though it carried out a lot of work. 144 

4. Ostashkov camp managed to perform its work, and the camp com- 
mand asks that individual workers be given special rewards. 
Enclosure: List 145 



Camp Commander Major Borisovets 
Commissar Senior Political Instructor Yurasov 

Given the number of POWs sent to their deaths and the number sent 
to Yukhnov camp, according to UPV lists, it is clear that only about 3 
percent of those held in the three camps survived. 

• 84 • 

UPV Report on the Number of Polish POWs Dispatched from the Special Camps 
into the Charge of Three Oblast UNKVDs and to Yukhnov Camp 
Before 25 May 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 

Information on the Dispatch of Prisoners of War 

I. Ostashkov Camp 

Sent: 1) To Kalinin Oblast UNKVD 6,287 peo] 

2) To Yukhnov camp 112 " 

Total: 6,399 " 

II. Kozelsk Camp 

Sent: 1) To Smolensk Oblast UNKVD 4,404 peo] 

2) To Yukhnov camp 205 " 

Total: 4,609 " 

III. Starobelsk Camp 

Sent: 1) To Kharkov Oblast UNKVD 3,896 peo] 

2) To Yukhnov camp 78 " 

Total: 3,974 " 

Total Sent: 1 ) To UNKVDs 14,587 " 

2) To Yukhnov camp 395 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
GB Captain (Soprunenko) 

Head of the 2nd Department of the USSR NKVD UPV 
GB Lieutenant [signature] (Makliarsky) 


Katyn and Its Echoes, 1940 to the Present 

The search for the missing officers began long before the Katyn 
revelations of spring 1943. The selected survivors from the 
three special camps were transferred first to Yukhnov camp 
near Smolensk and then to Griazovets camp near Vologda (docs. 84- 
86; see map 4). It is clear that some of those who found themselves in 
Griazovets were chosen for their pro-Soviet attitudes; some were re- 
quested by the German and Italian governments; others, requested by 
NKVD Intelligence, were most likely informers or agents; and the rest 
seem to have been chosen with a view to their potential usefulness to 
the USSR. Whatever the NKVD criteria of choice, the majority of the 
survivors turned out to be just as patriotic as their murdered comrades 
in arms, and they gave the camp authorities a hard time. They intimi- 
dated fellow prisoners taking Marxist instruction and protested the 
prohibition on corresponding with their families — even threatening a 
hunger strike (doc. 89). They were granted this right in October 1940, 
when the Soviet leadership began to look askance at Germany. They re- 
ceived letters from the relatives of their missing comrades asking about 
their comrades' whereabouts and assumed they were being held in 
other camps. In summer 194 1, as the Germans advanced into the USSR, 
the original Griazovets prisoners were joined by several hundred Pol- 
ish officers — mostly second lieutenants formerly interned in Lithuania 
and Latvia who had been transferred to Kozelsk 2 (so numbered be- 
cause new prisoners were held there after the massacre of spring 1940) 
and Yukhnov camps in July- August 1940 — as well as by some French, 
British, and Belgian military escapees from German camps. 1 

It has been known for some time that all the prisoners in Kozelsk 2 
were interrogated and that most of the police were condemned to hard 


Katyn and Its Echoes 


labor in the Murmansk region. About 4,000 rank-and-file soldiers and 
NCOs were also sent there from Yukhnov camp. The dispatch of offi- 
cers to Ponoi was delayed and then canceled because of the approach- 
ing war. It was assumed that all the military officers from Kozelsk 2 
were sent on to Griazovets. But a Polish researcher recently discovered 
copies of NKVD documents in the Central Military Archive, Warsaw, 
identifying in officers and police held in Kozelsk 2, who were sent 
elsewhere. Thirty-nine were identified as members of the Polish Intelli- 
gence and as politically active in "former Poland"; of these, 38 disap- 
peared without a trace after being taken to the Lubianka prison, Mos- 
cow. The charges against them are unknown, but one document may 
illustrate what they were. According to a "Testimonial of Rehabilita- 
tion" for one of these officers, issued by the Supreme Court of the 
Belarus Republic on 1 January 1995, Major Jozef Ol^dzki was con- 
demned by the Military Tribunal of the Special Western Military Dis- 
trict on 27 March 194 1, on the basis of Paragraph 68, point "a," and 
Paragraph 78 of the Criminal Code of the Belorussian Socialist Soviet 
Republic to the highest punishment, death by shooting. His "crime" 
was that he had joined the Polish Army as a volunteer in the Polish- 
Soviet War and thus participated as an officer in fighting the Red 
Army. This verdict was quashed in 1995, and the officer was rehabili- 
tated for lack of evidence of criminal activity. In a similar case, Leon 
Kozlowski (Polish premier, 1934-193 5) was arrested in Lviv and was 
condemned to death in early July 194 1 on charges of having served in 
the anti-Soviet P.O.W, participating in the Polish-Soviet War of 19 19- 
1920, and persecuting communists while in office in the 1930s. His 
sentence was then changed to ten years in the GULAG. He was fortu- 
nate, however, because he was released after the signing of the Sikor- 
ski-Maisky Pact of 30 July 1941. Many years later, his nephew Maciej 
Kozlowski obtained his uncle's file from the Russian Security Service, 
together with a copy of the verdict signed by V. V. Ulrikh. 2 

Plans for a Polish Division in the Red Army, 
October 1940-July 194 1 

In fall 1940 a small group of pro-Soviet officers led by Colonel (later 
General) Zygmunt Berling were selected by Beria and Merkulov to 
draw up plans for a Polish division in the Red Army (doc. 91). Ironi- 
cally, this selection took place in late October 1940, about the same 
time as Beria's decree rewarding the NKVD workers who had partici- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

pated, directly or indirectly, in shooting the Polish POWs in the three 
camps (doc. 90). Berling and other members of his planning group 
counted on including many colleagues from the camps in the officer 
cadre of the proposed Polish division. As Berling tells it, in early Janu- 
ary 1941, when he and Colonel Eustachy Gorczyhski presented a list 
of some 500 officers for this division to Beria and Merkulov, Beria 
asked if the list included those held in the Kozelsk and Starobelsk 
camps. When the answer was affirmative, Beria said they were not in 
the USSR, so Berling concluded they had left the country. According to 
another member of the group, Colonel Narcyz Lopianowski, Beria 
told Gorczyhski and Colonel Leon Tyszyhski in October 1940, "We 
gave them to the Germans." 3 This seems to have been the first time 
that a high-level Soviet official offered an explanation involving the 
Germans. Other reports have Beria or Merkulov saying, "We made a 
big mistake." 4 Nevertheless, Berling and his group continued to work 
on plans for the division, and on 4 June 194 1 the Sovet Narodnykh 
Komissarov, or Sovnarkom [SNK — Council of People's Commissars], 
ratified the decision of the commissar of people's defense, Marshal 
Semyon Timoshenko, that a Polish rifle division was to be established 
in the Red Army by 1 July 194 1 (doc. 93). This project was shelved 
with the outbreak of the German-Soviet War and the subsequent 
reestablishment of Polish-Soviet relations, but was taken up again af- 
ter their breakdown in late April 1943. 

The Polish Army in the USSR and Polish-Soviet 
Relations, from Reestablishment to Breakdown, 
30 July 1941-25 April 1943 

On 22 June 194 1, three German armies, North, South, and Center, in- 
vaded the Soviet Union in "Operation Barbarossa." On 30 July 194 1, 
General Wladyslaw Sikorski, head of the Polish government-in-exile 
and commander in chief of the Polish armed forces, signed an agree- 
ment in London with Soviet Ambassador Ivan Maisky reestablishing 
Polish-Soviet relations. The border issue was patched over for the time 
being by a compromise formula worked out by Sikorski and supported 
by British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden. It read: "The Government 
of the Union of Soviet Republics recognizes that the Soviet-German 
treaties of 1939 relative to territorial changes in Poland have lost their 
validity" (doc. 94). 5 The lack of express Soviet recognition of the pre- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

war frontier led to the resignation of three ministers from the Polish 
government, but Sikorski went ahead because of his firm belief in the 
need for good relations with Moscow and, in particular, his goal of 
raising a Polish army from the prisoners in the USSR. According to the 
agreement, all Polish citizens held in the USSR were to be "amnes- 
tied" — a face saver for Moscow — and a Polish army was to be raised 
there. General Wladyslaw Anders was accepted by the Soviet leader- 
ship as the commander of this army and was set free. He left the Lu- 
bianka prison on 4 August 194 1 in Beria's limousine after twenty 
months of imprisonment, seven of them in isolation. 6 A military agree- 
ment was signed in Moscow on 14 August 194 1. It did not specify the 
number of Polish divisions, and this became a bone of contention be- 
tween the two sides (doc. 95). 

As soldiers and officers began arriving at Polish army centers in 
Buzuluk, Tatishchev, and Totskoe near Kuibyshev (Samara) — where 
most Soviet government agencies and all diplomatic missions were 
evacuated from Moscow in October 194 1 — Polish military authori- 
ties noticed that most of the officers from the Kozelsk and Starobelsk 
camps were missing, as were the policemen and gendarmes from Os- 
tashkov. Their names were known, for survivors of the three camps 
compiled lists of the missing men from memory. Anders made inquiries 
and appointed Captain Jozef Czapski — a Russian-speaking artist 
called up as a reserve officer in 1939, captured, and held in Starobelsk, 
then Griazovets — to question various high-ranking Soviet officers 
about the missing Poles. He learned nothing. Professor Stanislaw Kot, 
Polish ambassador to the USSR, also inquired about the officers in 
conversations with Deputy Commissar for Foreign Affairs Andrei 
Vyshinsky, Commissar Vyacheslav Molotov, and Stalin himself, but to 
no avail. The Soviet respondents always claimed that all the prisoners 
had been released. 7 

In late November 1941, Sikorski flew from Britain to the USSR by 
way of Cairo and Tehran. Accompanied by Anders and Kot, he had a 
long conversation with Stalin and Molotov in the latter's office in the 
Sovnarkom building on the evening of 3 December. Earlier that day, 
the NKVD in Moscow received a UPV report on the number of Polish 
prisoners of war captured in 1939; the number released to their homes 
in western Ukraine and western Belorussia; the number handed over to 
the Germans; the number sent to the disposition of NKVD regional ad- 
ministrations (that is, murdered); and finally, the number sent to join 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

the Polish Army or otherwise dispersed or dispensed with (doc. 96). 
Stalin had all these numbers in hand when he met with Sikorski, Kot, 
and Anders that evening. When Sikorski asked for the release of all 
Polish POWs, Stalin said that all had been released and suggested that 
some might have fled to Manchuria (then under Japanese rule). Anders 
complained that his men did not receive enough food and other sup- 
plies, so most of the conversation concerned the question of whether 
the Polish troops should be moved to Iran, where supplies were plenti- 
ful. This was an issue on which Stalin was very sensitive owing to 
British and American pressure to send the Polish troops there. But 
when Sikorski said that he wanted the troops to stay in the USSR, 
Stalin agreed to increase food supplies and move the army to the 
Tashkent (now Toshkent) region in southwestern Uzbekistan. This re- 
gion had a much warmer climate and lay within reach of the Iranian 
border, so the British could send supplies there from Iran (doc. 97). 
Three weeks after this conversation, on 25 December 1941, the Soviet 
State Defense Committee (GKO) approved an increase in the number 
of Polish divisions from one to three, with food supplies for 96,000 
persons. 8 

Stalin increased the number of Polish divisions and, consequently, 
the food supplies apparently because he expected Sikorski to return to 
Moscow and agree to a slightly modified version of the German-Soviet 
demarcation line of 28 September 1939 (doc. 12; see map 2). Accord- 
ing to Anders, who translated and took notes on the Stalin-Sikorski 
conversation at the Kremlin banquet of 4 December, Stalin said, "We 
should settle our common frontier between ourselves, and before the 
peace conference, as soon as the Polish Army enters into action. We 
should stop talking on this subject. Don't worry, we will not harm 
you." Sikorski said the 1939 frontier could not be touched, and asked 
to return to the problem, to which Stalin replied, "Please, you will be 
welcome." 9 After the banquet, the two leaders signed a Declaration of 
Friendship and Mutual Assistance. 10 

What Stalin meant by not harming Poland is evident from the pro- 
posals he made to British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden in the dis- 
cussions on a Soviet-British alliance held in Moscow a few days later. 
Stalin proposed that the Polish-Soviet frontier follow the Curzon Line 
of 1920, but with small modifications in Poland's favor and compen- 
sation with German territory in the west. He told Eden that "Poland 
should be given all the lands up to the Oder [River] and let the rest be 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Prussia, or to be more exact, not Prussia but the State of Berlin." 11 
Furthermore, a confidential protocol stated that the USSR was willing 
to allow Lvov to return to Poland if Belostok and Vilna (all place- 
names in the document are given in the Russian form) were transferred 
to the USSR; or Belostok and Vilna could go to Poland, leaving Lvov to 
the USSR. In either case, Poland was to get the western part of East 
Prussia, but this time there was no mention of the Oder River as a 
boundary. The Soviet leader also demanded the part of East Prussia 
with Konigsberg [postwar name, Kaliningrad] for the USSR, as well as 
the Baltic States and territory from Finland and Romania. 12 In fact, 
Stalin conditioned the Soviet signing of the Anglo-Soviet alliance on 
British recognition of the Soviet western frontier of June 1941, but 
Eden — who privately agreed — did not have the power to grant it. The 
Soviet leader also proposed a division of Europe into spheres of British 
and Soviet influence, a proposal the British could not accept either. 13 

Sikorski — who had no knowledge of these proposals — had planned 
to return to Moscow after reviewing Polish troops but decided not to. 
He had influenza, but this may not have been the key reason; perhaps 
he feared being presented with an Eden-Stalin agreement at Poland's 
expense. Whatever the case may be, after returning to London he in- 
formed Winston Churchill of his conversation with Stalin — and 
warned of Soviet plans to expand westward. 14 In giving this warning, 
he must have had in mind his recent conversation with the British am- 
bassador to the USSR, Sir Stafford Cripps, who told him of the pro- 
posals Stalin had made to Eden in Moscow. Cripps advised accep- 
tance, but Sikorski found them totally unacceptable. However, as 
Stefan Litauer had reported to the Foreign Office in November 1939, 
Sikorski privately envisaged giving up some of Poland's former eastern 
territories to the USSR. Indeed, he told Eden on 3 March 194Z that "if 
Poland were to acquire East Prussia, it might well be that Poland could 
make concessions to the Soviet government in regard to Poland's east- 
ern frontiers. But no concession could be made about either Vilna or 
Lwow." Sikorski added that during their conversations in Moscow, 
"Stalin had seemed to have moderate ideas about this frontier, partic- 
ularly as regards Lwow." 15 

Soviet-Polish relations deteriorated in early 194 z. Soviet commu- 
niques began referring to towns in former eastern Poland as Soviet 
towns. The Polish government, for its part, not only protested this ter- 
minology but also stated its views on the future of the Baltic States and 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Eastern Europe. The Soviet ambassador to the exile governments in 
London, Aleksandr Bogomolov, delivered a note of protest on 23 Jan- 
uary 1942 against statements made by Polish Foreign Minister Ed- 
ward Raczyhski in an interview published in the London Sunday 
Times. Raczyhski had outlined federal plans for postwar Eastern Eu- 
rope, mentioned guarantees for the independence of Eastern European 
and Baltic States, and included Lithuania in the projected Polish- 
Czechoslovak federation. The Soviet government claimed that the 
people of the Baltic States had voted freely in 1940 to become Soviet 
republics, so Bogomolov protested Raczyhski's statements. He said 
they could produce an unfavorable impression on Soviet public opin- 
ion and could not contribute to the development of friendly relations 
between the USSR and Poland. Sikorski saw this as unacceptable pres- 
sure. He told Bogomolov sharply that they were not living in the times 
of Catherine the Great and that Bogomolov was not a Count (Nikolai) 
Repnin or an (Otto M.) Stackelberg (Russian ambassadors in Warsaw 
before and during the late eighteenth-century partitions of Poland). 16 
It was in this political context that Soviet military authorities began to 
pressure General Anders in early February 1942 to send a Polish divi- 
sion to the front. Anders declared that, given the exhaustion of his 
men, the army could not be ready to fight for at least six months. He 
also insisted that the army go to the front as a unit, which accorded 
with Sikorski's policy. This stance, combined with the political stand- 
off, led to reductions of food supplies by the Soviet side, all the more 
painful because the soldiers shared their meager rations with military 
families and orphans. 

Soviet pressure on Anders increased in March 1942, probably be- 
cause Sikorski gave no sign of recognizing the Soviet western frontier 
of 1939-1941, while at the same time the British were pressing 
Moscow to send the Polish troops to Iran. Thus, on 18 March 1942 a 
conversation took place in the Kremlin between Anders and Stalin that 
led to the latter's agreement to supply food rations for 44,000 soldiers 
in the Polish Army and to Anders's request to evacuate those above 
that number to Iran (doc. 98). This led to the first stage of the evacua- 
tion, which took place between the end of March and early April 1942 
(doc. 99). 

Later, upon Anders's return from London, where he consulted with 
the Polish government, he decided, contrary to Sikorski's wishes, to 
evacuate the rest of the army and the civilians attached to it. He did so 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


in the belief that otherwise most of them would die of disease and star- 
vation in the USSR. Indeed, large numbers were dying every day, es- 
pecially from typhoid fever. Furthermore, in June 194 2, Churchill 
pressed Molotov — then in London — to transfer the rest of the army to 
Iran. At this time, Molotov also met with Sikorski and rejected Sikor- 
ski's requests for continued recruitment for the Polish Army and the 
evacuation of 50,000 children to Iran. 17 Finally, Stalin knew that the 
Polish Army in the USSR was strongly anti-Soviet, and he probably 
planned to use the thousands of Poles of military age still in the Soviet 
Union to form a new, communist-led Polish army when the time came 
(as he indeed did in spring 1943). Thus, in early July 1942 he agreed to 
the evacuation of the rest of the army to Iran. Anders telegraphed 
Stalin on 31 July 1942, thanking him and appealing to him to allow 
new conscription in the USSR to supplement the Polish Army. 18 The 
second stage of the evacuation was carried out in August-September 
1942 (doc. 100), establishing a Polish Army of about 76,000 in Iran. 
Later it moved to Iraq and Palestine, became the 2nd Polish Army 
Corps, and fought in Italy. (On 18 May 1944, it took Monte Cassino, 
opening the Allied way to Rome.) However, there was no further re- 
cruitment in the USSR, and the Soviet government did not agree to the 
evacuation of more Polish citizens, even children. 

Soviet-Polish relations continued to deteriorate in late 1942 and 
early 1943 . 19 It is true that Stalin gave up his demand for British recog- 
nition of the (June 1941) Soviet western frontier in the Anglo-Soviet 
Treaty on mutual aid, so it was signed in London on 26 May 1942 
without mentioning frontiers. The British government had offered to 
recognize Soviet demands in an exchange of letters, but Stalin decided 
not to press the issue, most likely because he knew of President 
Franklin Delano Roosevelt's opposition to making agreements on ter- 
ritorial changes in wartime. In any case, on 24 May he instructed 
Molotov to stop insisting on British recognition of the June 194 1 west- 
ern frontier of the USSR. As he put it, "The question of our frontiers, 
or to be exact, of guarantees for the security of our frontiers at one or 
another section of our country, will be decided by force." 20 

In the meantime, Stalin was grooming Polish communist leaders 
who could take power in Poland after the war, with or without the 
London Poles. Indeed, some Polish communists had already received 
training in the Comintern [Communist International] school in 1940- 
1941, and the first leadership group was dropped by parachute just 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

outside Warsaw at the end of December 194 1. They brought with 
them a political manifesto worked out with the head of the Comintern, 
Georgy M. Dimitrov. 21 In early January 1942 these leaders formed the 
Polska Partia Robotnicza [PPR — Polish Workers' Party] with a mili- 
tary arm, the Gwardia Ludowa [GL — People's Guard], later the Armia 
Ludowa [AL — People's Army], but their role in Polish resistance to the 
Germans was minor in comparison with that of the anticommunist 
Armia Krajowa [AK — Polish Home Army], which was loyal to the 
Polish government in London. 

In early 1943, Stalin increased his pressure on the Polish govern- 
ment. In mid-January the Soviet government announced that all per- 
sons residing in the Soviet-occupied territories of Poland on 1-2 No- 
vember 1939 — when these lands became part of the USSR — were 
Soviet citizens. 22 In April 1943 the Polish Embassy in the USSR esti- 
mated on the basis of its delegates' reports and other sources that 
271,325 deported Polish citizens lived in various parts of the country 
and that 39.3 percent of them were Jewish. Beria's count, in his note to 
Stalin of 15 January 1943, was 215,081 Polish citizens, of whom 
92,224 were ethnic Poles, 102,153 were Polish Jews, 14,202 were 
Ukrainians, and 6,502 were Belorussians. 23 Whichever numbers were 
correct, these people were pressured to accept Soviet citizenship and 
faced imprisonment if they refused, as was the case with the Polish 
writer and poet Aleksander Wat. 24 But these were only the preliminary 
steps in Stalin's Polish strategy, in which a pro-Soviet Polish commu- 
nist, Wanda Wasilewska — who headed a group of Polish left-wingers 
and communists in Lviv [Lvov, Lwow] from 1939 to 1941 — was to 
play an important part. 

Wasilewska recounts in her memoirs that in late January 1943 — just 
before the German capitulation at Stalingrad, where she and her hus- 
band, the Ukrainian writer Oleksandr Korneichuk were traveling to 
witness and report the event — Stalin summoned both of them to 
Moscow. He told Korneichuk that he expected a breakdown in Soviet- 
Polish relations and that Wasilewska could be of great help if she so 
wished. She met with Stalin and they agreed that a new Polish political 
center should be established in the USSR — which she had proposed 
earlier — and that a new Polish newspaper was to appear by 1 March. 
The new center was to be called Zwiazek Patriotow Polskich w ZSSR 
[ZPP — Union of Polish Patriots in the USSR], and the newspaper would 
be named Wolna Polska [Free Poland]. Both names were suggested by 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Stalin, and Wasilewska became chair of the union's executive board. 25 
Thus, it is clear that in the first days of February 1943, if not earlier, 
Stalin was planning to break off relations with the Polish government 
in London and establish a rival Polish center in the USSR. This was 
two months before the Katyn massacre became public knowledge and 
almost three months before Stalin severed relations with the Polish 
government in London. 

The Katyn Graves and the Breakdown of Polish-Soviet 
Relations, Spring 1943 

The Germans occupied the Smolensk region in July 1941. The Army 
Group Center (AGC) 537th Signals Regiment made its headquarters 
in a building located in the former NKVD recreation area at Koze 
Gory [Goat Hills]. These hills are on the eastern border of the Katyn 
Forest, near the two Katyn villages and the railway station of Gnez- 
dovo, which is zo kilometers northwest of Smolensk (see map 5). In 
summer 1942 a few Polish workers employed by the German labor or- 
ganization Todt learned from local Russians that Polish officers had 
been shot in the Katyn Forest. They did some digging, found Polish 
military insignia and bones, and erected some crosses. This did not 
attract German attention at the time, but Lieutenant (later Colonel) 
Friedrich Ahrens, commander of the AGC 5 3 7th Signals Regiment, al- 
legedly noticed wolf tracks in Katyn Forest in early 1943 and was in- 
formed that human bones had been found there. He interrogated local 
Russians, who told of the shooting of Polish officers. Ahrens ordered 
digging, which led to the discovery of a mass grave. A report was sent 
to the AGC Command in early January 1943 (some accounts say Feb- 
ruary), where it was read by Colonel Rudolph-Christoph von Gers- 
dorff, an intelligence officer on the AGC General Staff. He claims in 
his memoirs that the massacre site came to be known as Katyn because 
he chose that name to differentiate it from Gnezdovo, with its prehis- 
toric kurgans (burial mounds). 26 The AGC Command waited until 29 
March — presumably because the ground was frozen — before order- 
ing the graves to be opened, the number of victims to be estimated, and 
the circumstances of their deaths to be established. 

The Germans soon decided to exploit the propaganda value of the 
Katyn graves, at first to secure the support of Poles in German Poland 
against the Soviets and then to split the Allies. On 7 April the German 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

governor of Warsaw, the Nazi lawyer Ludwig Fischer, told the Polish 
writer Ferdynand Goetel of the discovery of mass graves of Polish offi- 
cers at Katyn and said that a delegation, including Goetel, would be 
sent to view the site. 27 Two days later, the German propaganda minis- 
ter, Joseph Goebbels, noted in his diary that he had given permission to 
send neutral journalists to Katyn from Berlin, as well as permission to 
send Polish journalists from occupied Poland. 28 On 10 April, a Polish 
delegation flew to Smolensk and visited Katyn the next day. It included 
Poles from all walks of life, including workers. A prominent member 
from Krakow was Dr. Edmund Seyfried, director of the Rada Glowna 
Opiekuhcza [RGO — Main Welfare Council], who went as a private 
person and wrote a detailed report. Except for the pro-German jour- 
nalist Emil Skiwski, the Poles refused to make statements serving Ger- 
man propaganda aims. They secretly reported what they had seen to 
the AK Command in Warsaw, which radioed the news to the Polish 
government in London. 29 

The first public mention of the Katyn graves was made by the Ger- 
man news agency Trans-Ocean on n April 1943; it broadcast the re- 
port made by German military authorities in Smolensk confirming the 
discovery of a mass grave in the Smolensk region with the corpses of 
some 3,000 Polish officers killed by the GPU (it used the acronym for 
a previous incarnation of the NKVD) in February and March 1940. 
Identification of some of the victims was possible through personal pa- 
pers found on the bodies, and one of those identified was General 
Mieczyslaw Smorawihski. This broadcast was countered on the follow- 
ing day by the pro-Soviet Polish-language Kosciuszko radio station in 
Moscow, which called it German propaganda and termed its conclu- 
sions "monstrous." 30 However, it was the Berlin radio communique of 
1 3 April that was reported in world media. This communique went into 
more detail, named the area Kosogory, and gave the estimated total 
number of victims as 10,000, which tallied with the Polish govern- 
ment's estimate of officers taken prisoner in 1939 (doc. 101). 31 Two 
days later, on 1 5 April, the Sovinformburo [Soviet Information Office] 
issued a reply. It blasted "Goebbels's slanderers" for the allegation that 
the Soviets had shot the Polish prisoners and pointed to archaeological 
excavations in Gnezdovo. The Sovinformburo claimed that the Ger- 
mans had shot the Poles along with Soviet people in summer 194 1, af- 
ter the withdrawal of Soviet troops from the Smolensk area (doc. 102). 

The Polish government faced a shocked and outraged Polish public 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


in German Poland, in the West, and, most importantly, in the Polish 
Army formed in the USSR, then stationed in Iraq. On the day of the So- 
viet communique, General Anders cabled the Polish defense minister, 
General Marian Kukiel, in London, detailing the search for the missing 
officers while he was in the USSR, stating that there was great dismay 
in the army, and demanding that the government secure an official So- 
viet explanation of the Katyn graves. 32 The Polish government was 
under great pressure to take a stand. 

General Sikorski met with some members of the Polish cabinet at n 
a.m. on 1 5 April to discuss the issue. It was decided to send a note to 
the Soviet Embassy demanding an explanation, to request the Interna- 
tional Red Cross (IRC) to investigate the crime, and to publish a state- 
ment by the national defense minister, who was responsible for ques- 
tions regarding prisoners of war. 33 Sikorski and Foreign Minister 
Edward Raczyhski met with Prime Minister Churchill at 10 Downing 
Street for lunch at noon the same day. The conversation concerned 
Polish-Soviet relations, especially the Polish government's request for 
British support to save Polish citizens and sustain Polish relief organi- 
zations in the USSR. When Katyn came up, Churchill said he could be- 
lieve in Soviet guilt, but warned the Poles against raising the issue pub- 
licly. Sikorski said that his government was forced to do so. He also 
pressed for the evacuation of Polish citizens from the USSR and in- 
formed Churchill about secret Soviet plans to form a Polish commu- 
nist army there. Churchill promised to help, but said that at the end of 
the war it might be necessary to seek a compromise solution in Polish- 
Soviet relations, which might be on the lines of territorial compensa- 
tion for Poland. Sikorski rejected this suggestion. Churchill repeated 
his warning on the Katyn issue, but Sikorski said that the Polish gov- 
ernment would be forced to take a clear and decided stand on the mat- 
ter. 34 On 1 6 April, the Polish defense minister, General Marian Ku- 
kiel, issued a long communique giving the known number of missing 
Polish officers held in the three camps (8,300) and stating that the 
camps had been broken up in April 1940, that groups of officers had 
been removed every few days until mid-May, and that only about 400 
had been moved in June of that year to Griazovets in the Vologda re- 
gion. He also enumerated Polish efforts to obtain information on the 
missing officers from the Soviet government and mentioned Stalin's 
assurances to Sikorski on 3 December 194 1 that all Polish prisoners 
had been freed. Kukiel went on to state: "Neither the Polish Govern- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

ment nor the Polish Embassy in Kuibyshev has ever received an an- 
swer as to the whereabouts of the missing officers and other prisoners 
who had been deported from the three camps mentioned above." He 
said that Poles were accustomed to the lies of German propaganda 
and understood its goal, but in view of the detailed information about 
the graves near Smolensk, it was necessary for an investigation to be 
conducted by a competent international body like the IRC. The Polish 
government had approached the latter about sending a delegation to 
the site. 35 

On 17 April, the Polish government issued a formal statement to the 
effect that it had asked the IRC to send a delegation to investigate the 
graves, but at the same time, it denied the Germans any right to use 
the issue for their own defense and listed German crimes in Poland 
(doc. 103). Goebbels now saw an opportunity to divide the Allies. He 
wrote in his diary that as soon as he heard of this statement, he secured 
Hitler's sanction for the German Red Cross to ask the IRC for an in- 
vestigation of the Katyn graves. 36 In fact, the first German request was 
sent by wire on 1 5 April, but it was not made officially until two days 
later. A liaison officer at the Polish Embassy in Bern reported that the 
official Polish request was submitted to the IRC on 17 April at 4:30 
p.m., half an hour after the German delegate submitted his request. 37 

The almost simultaneous filing of official requests by the Polish and 
German governments with the IRC in Geneva gave Stalin the pretext 
to break off relations with the Polish government, as he had planned to 
do earlier. Furthermore, according to a Polish source, a Polish commu- 
nist was parachuted from a Soviet plane into German Poland on 19 
March 1943 with information from Comintern Secretary General 
Georgy Dimitrov that a breakdown in Polish-Soviet relations was to 
be expected. 38 A Soviet press campaign against the Polish government 
began on 19 April with an article in Pravda titled "Hitler's Polish Col- 
laborators," which accused the Germans of murdering the Polish offi- 
cers at Katyn and the Polish government in London of collaborating 
with the Germans. 39 Two days later, Stalin wrote Churchill and Roo- 
sevelt that the Polish government was colluding with Hitler, so he had 
decided to "interrupt" relations with it. 40 Both statesmen appealed to 
him not to do so, and on 24 April, British Foreign Secretary Eden in- 
formed Sikorski of Stalin's conditions for not breaking off relations 
with the Polish government. According to Eden, Stalin demanded that 
the Polish government withdraw its request to the IRC and blame the 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Germans for the Katyn massacre. As Sikorski wrote in his report of the 
conversation, when he asked Eden about the position of the British gov- 
ernment, Eden replied: "First of all, the British government did not be- 
lieve the Germans, and secondly, it could not estrange such a powerful 
ally. The British Premier would issue a declaration on these lines and I 
was asked to agree to these two requests of Stalin, as it was imperative 
for the sake of the common cause." Eden also said that only if Sikorski 
agreed could the British government intervene on behalf of Polish na- 
tionals in Russia. Sikorski said he would not press the request to the 
IRC, but he could not state that the Germans had murdered the Polish 
officers, because he had evidence of Soviet guilt. 41 Indeed, given the 
fact that the Germans had already published convincing reports and 
photographs in Poland and that there was much criticism in the Polish 
Army of Sikorski's policy of good relations with the USSR, the general 
could not have blamed the Germans without risking a revolt in the 
Polish armed forces and forfeiting his government's authority among 
Poles everywhere, except, of course, among the small minority — mostly 
communists — who chose to believe the Soviet claims. 

Despite the pleas of Churchill and Roosevelt, Stalin proceeded to 
break off relations with the Polish government. The Soviet note offi- 
cially communicated on 25 April by Molotov to Polish Ambassador 
Tadeusz Romer in Moscow recapitulated the essence of Stalin's mes- 
sages to Churchill and Roosevelt, plus the charge that the Polish gov- 
ernment was slandering the USSR in order to obtain territorial conces- 
sions at the expense of Soviet Ukraine and Belorussia — a reference to 
the Polish government's official stand on the eastern frontier of 1921- 
1939 (doc. 104). 

There is an eyewitness account of how the Soviet note was presented 
to Romer. The Polish ambassador's assistant, Aleksander Mniszek, 
who accompanied him that day, recorded that Molotov's Secretariat 
had telephoned Romer at his Moscow hotel on 25 April at 11:30 p.m. 
to say that Molotov wished to see him, giving him the choice of mid- 
night or a quarter-hour after midnight. Romer chose the first option 
and met with Molotov in his office. Mniszek writes that they arrived at 
midnight and waited for fifteen minutes; they assumed that the text of 
the note might not be ready, for they noticed officials coming and go- 
ing from Molotov's office. The meeting on 26 April continued until 
00:40 a.m. The Soviet commissar for foreign affairs quickly read the 
note to Romer in Russian, and the translator laboriously rendered it 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

into French. Romer protested the accusations and conclusions regard- 
ing the Polish government as expressed in the Soviet note — which 
were the same as those in Stalin's letters to Churchill and Roosevelt — 
and refused to accept it, so Molotov placed it on the desk in front of 
the ambassador. At the end of the conversation, when Romer asked 
about leaving the USSR with the embassy staff, Molotov said that the 
Soviet government would do everything to facilitate their departure. 
The Soviet note was delivered later to Romer's hotel in a sealed enve- 
lope, but he returned it. He also sent a note to Molotov rejecting the 
Soviet accusations. At the same time, he made a public statement to the 
effect that both countries remained in the same camp to fight Germany 
to the finish, and appealed to the Soviet government to secure the fu- 
ture of Polish deportees in the USSR. He left the country unhindered 
with all the embassy staff and arrived in Tehran in mid-May 1943. 42 

Stalin now stepped up his campaign to undermine the Polish gov- 
ernment in London. On 27 April, Georgy Dimitrov wrote Pawel 
Finder, head of the Polish Worker's Party in German Poland. He gave 
the Soviet government's reasons for breaking off relations with the 
Polish government, including the charge that the Polish government 
was pressuring the USSR into making territorial concessions at the 
cost of Soviet Ukraine, Belorussia, and Lithuania. Dimitrov wrote that 
the PPR was to launch a propaganda campaign against the London 
Poles. The next day Wasilewska made a radio speech in which she de- 
clared that the Sikorski government did not represent the Polish na- 
tion. She appealed to Poles in the USSR to cooperate with the Soviet 
Union and its allies in the war against Germany and thus earn their re- 
turn to an independent Poland. On 30 April the Polish government de- 
clared that in view of the IRC statement on the difficulties in comply- 
ing with the request to investigate the Katyn graves — that is, the lack 
of Soviet agreement — the Polish government regarded its appeal to the 
IRC as having lapsed. 43 This did not satisfy Moscow. 

Although Stalin rejected the pleas of Churchill and Roosevelt to re- 
new relations with the Polish government, he took care to publicize his 
benevolent attitude toward Poland. On 3 May (a Polish national holi- 
day), he received a written question from Ralph Parker, Moscow cor- 
respondent for the Times of London, asking whether the Soviet Union 
wanted a strong, independent Poland after the defeat of Nazi Germany 
and how he envisaged postwar Polish-Soviet relations. The next day 
Stalin gave an affirmative answer to the first question; he answered the 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


second by saying these relations should be friendly and neighborly and 
could include, if the Polish nation so wished, an alliance against Ger- 
many as the main enemy of both the USSR and Poland. 44 On 6 May, 
Deputy Commissar for Foreign Affairs Andrei Vyshinsky made a long 
statement to British and American correspondents in Moscow on Pol- 
ish-Soviet relations. He presented the Soviet point of view and an- 
nounced the formation of Polish army units in the USSR. 45 Three days 
later the Soviet State Defense Committee agreed to the formation of 
the Kosciuszko Division. 46 It was led by General Berling, promoted in 
rank by Stalin. Georgy S. Zhukov, who had served as the NKVD and 
Red Army liaison officer with General Anders in 1941-1942, was also 
involved with the new Polish military units led by General Berling, this 
time as the Sovnarkom plenipotentiary to foreign military forces being 
formed in the USSR. 

A week later another event was widely reported in the world press. 
On 15 May 1943 — one day after the beginning of the Roosevelt- 
Churchill conference in Washington, D.C., at which they were ex- 
pected to decide whether to open a second front in Europe that year — 
the Soviet press wrote about the dissolution of the Comintern. (In fact, 
the decision to dissolve it was made on 1 1 May, and the official an- 
nouncement came on 22 May.) This was welcomed by the Western 
Powers as a sign that the Soviets were renouncing the aim of world rev- 
olution and, by the same token, the aim of imposing communism on 
the Poles. It was not known at the time that the Comintern depart- 
ments had been transferred to the Department of International Infor- 
mation in the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet 
Union (CPSU). The Biuletyn Informacyjny [Information Bulletin], the 
official AK underground newspaper, did caution, however, on 3 June 
1943 that, pending the appearance of evidence to the contrary, the dis- 
solution of the Comintern should be viewed as no more than a "polit- 
ical maneuver." 47 

In the meantime, exhumations were proceeding under German su- 
pervision in Katyn Forest. They continued until early June 1943, when 
warm weather set in. Also, the Soviet Air Force was bombing Smo- 
lensk and the surrounding area. As mentioned earlier, some Polish in- 
tellectuals had visited the burial site in early April. After their return, 
the German authorities in Warsaw exerted great pressure on the Polish 
Red Cross (PRC) to send delegates there. On the basis of the writer 
Goetel's report on his visit to the PRC Executive Board, the latter de- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

cided that its secretary general, Kazimierz Skarzynski, and a small 
technical commission should visit Katyn to see whether the German al- 
legations were true. They were joined by several other persons from 
Krakow; flew to Smolensk on 14 April; arrived there the next day; 
briefly visited Katyn on 16 April; and returned to Warsaw, leaving 
three PRC members behind to work on the exhumations. On his re- 
turn, Skarzynski reported to the PRC Executive Board and to the Pol- 
ish underground commissioner for civilian warfare in Warsaw (doc. 
105a). The PRC board's decision — based on Skarzyriski's report — 
was to send a larger technical commission of nine members — later ex- 
panded to twelve — to work on the exhumations at Katyn. 

The report of the PRC Technical Commission gives an account of 
how its members worked and what they found at Katyn in April-June 
1943. There was no doubt in their minds that the correlation between 
the names of officers known to be missing and the victims identified at 
Katyn, as well as newspapers and diaries dating from spring 1940 
found on the corpses, pointed conclusively to Soviet guilt. They shared 
the view, expressed by the German Inquiry Commission and the Inter- 
national Medical Commission (IMC), that the massacre had taken 
place in spring 1940. They concluded that the officers had been shot at 
the edge of the burial pits and some even in the pits, where they were 
forced to lie on their dead and dying comrades before they were shot 
(doc. 105b). This view of the executions in Katyn Forest went almost 
unchallenged until 2001, when three authors — two Poles and a Polish- 
Canadian — argued that since most of the Kozelsk victims were found 
in the burial pits with their hands unbound, they must have been killed 
in the same way as the Ostashkov prisoners in Kalinin [Tver] and the 
Starobelsk prisoners in Kharkov, that is, one by one in an enclosed 
space. As for the some 20 percent whose hands were bound, the au- 
thors believed that these officers realized they were about to be mur- 
dered — perhaps when led to the edge of a pit — and tried to resist. 48 
This must remain just a plausible theory because no eyewitness ac- 
counts or NKVD documents giving details of the executions have sur- 
faced to this day. 

The Katyn Documents Saga 

The story of what happened to the documents and other items found 
on the bodies at Katyn is a fascinating tale in itself. The German au- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

thorities wanted to examine them on site but, persuaded by a PRC 
member that this was impossible for lack of proper facilities, decided 
to send them to the Chemical Section of the former Polish State Insti- 
tute of Forensic Medicine on 7 Kopernik Street in Krakow, now under 
German control. After the Katyn Forest exhumations ended in early 
June 1943, nine or ten plywood chests arrived at this institute, where a 
small team of forensic experts and Polish workers, headed by Dr. Jan 
Zygmunt Robel, managed to examine 285 out of 3,000 numbered en- 
velopes containing items found on the corpses. (Some of the envelopes 
were numbered by the Germans before the arrival of the PRC Techni- 
cal Commission and then by the latter. In both cases, each body was re- 
buried with a metal tag bearing the same number as the envelope.) Ro- 
bel and his team examined the contents of the envelopes under the 
supervision of the German director of the Institute of Forensic Medi- 
cine, Dr. Werner Beck, who held the German Army rank of major. The 
German propaganda office in Krakow pressed the Polish staff to pro- 
ceed quickly because it wanted to establish the identification of the 
bodies within two months, but the experts — supported by Beck, who 
hated the propaganda people — resisted this pressure. In fact, as Robel 
and his staff separately deposed in Krakow to the regional deputy 
prosecutor Dr. Roman Martini in summer 1945, it took several hours 
to separate out the contents of an envelope, which formed a solid lump 
stuck together with fatty body wax, all of which was contaminated 
with soil. This lump, containing such items as correspondence, pho- 
tographs, drawings, identity cards, inoculation certificates, documents 
on military decorations, scraps of Soviet newspapers, banknotes, bill- 
folds, medallions, handmade cigarette holders and cigarette cases, 
combs and brushes, and, most important, diaries, had to be placed in a 
special chemical bath, de-fatted and cleaned. Only then could the doc- 
uments be read. 

This was slow work, so before the evacuation of these materials 
from Krakow in August 1944 ahead of the advancing Red Army, Dr. 
Robel and his staff managed to examine and describe the contents of 
only 285 envelopes. A detailed protocol was written on each, giving its 
number, the family name of the murdered officer, and all the items it 
contained, including texts that had been read. All the protocols were 
signed by Robel and his staff, who typed several carbon copies of each. 
These protocols, describing the materials acquired from the 285 en- 
velopes, represented only a part of the recovered items, but they al- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

lowed the later identification of 2,333 Katyn victims out of the total 
number of 4,143 exhumed. (About 1,000 were identified on site.) Fur- 
thermore, Dr. Robel and his staff secretly typed several carbon copies 
of the twenty-two legible diaries found on the bodies, fifteen of which 
were delivered by special courier that summer to the Polish govern- 
ment in London. 49 

In July 1944, Beck told Robel that the Katyn documents had to be 
moved to the main building of the Institute of Forensic Medicine in 
Krakow because the German police expected an attempt by the AK to 
seize them. There was indeed such a plan, but it failed because the doc- 
uments were moved and strict German security measures were in 
place. As the Red Army continued its advance westward, the German 
authorities decided to destroy the Katyn relics and documents. Ac- 
cording to Beck's testimony, given in Frankfurt am Main to members 
of the U.S. congressional committee on Katyn in June 1952., he re- 
ceived orders to destroy the documents so they would not fall into 
Russian hands, but decided to disobey them. He said he agreed with 
the pleas of Adam Ronikier, head of the RGO, and Dr. Pronaskou 
[Professor Zbigniew Pronaszko], director of the Akademia Sztuk 
Pi^knych [Academy of Fine Arts] in Krakow, to do all he could to pre- 
vent the destruction of the material evidence of the crime. So he 
arranged for the evacuation of the items, now repacked in fourteen 
chests, to Breslau [Wroclaw], where they were taken in August 1944 
and stored in the Anatomical Institute of the university there. Beck said 
that work on the documents continued under the supervision of the 
German forensic medicine expert, Professor Gerhard Buhtz of Breslau 
University, who had supervised the exhumations at Katyn, and that 
Robel himself visited several times from Krakow. As the Russians drew 
near, Beck decided to evacuate the chests to Dresden, but upon arrival 
there, he could not procure a storage place from the police. Instead, 
they gave him a truck, which he used to transport them to the railway 
station at Radebeul, a suburb of Dresden, where they were placed in a 
storage building. Beck said he had wanted to deliver the chests to the 
IRC, which had a branch in Prague. In the first days of May 1945 he 
had traveled to Prague but could not find the IRC because of the war, 
so he went to Pilsen [Czech, Plzeh], then occupied by U.S. troops, and 
obtained permission to travel to Dresden. The Russians were already 
there, however, so he went to the U.S. occupation zone in Bavaria. In 
his deposition, Beck claimed that the chests were burned at Radebeul 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Station on his orders, that this was done by the railway shipping agent 
there, and that he received confirmation of this fact. He also stated 
that the Russian secret police knew about the storage place for the 
chests in Radebeul, as well as the evacuation route. They searched his 
parents' house in Dresden and the houses of friends where he had 
stayed. His mother was jailed for six months when the police tried to 
get his address from her, and the railway shipping agent who burned 
the chests was deported to the USSR. The Katyn author Janusz Za- 
wodny, however, writes that former Polish Premier Stanislaw Mikoiaj- 
czyk told him in 1957 that one of the chests left by Beck at Radebeul 
Station survived, and he was certain that it was in American hands. 
Mikolajczyk also told Zawodny that a small chest containing the orig- 
inal diaries had disappeared in Krakow. 50 

No chest of Katyn documents has surfaced thus far in the United 
States, but a well-preserved, sealed packet with typed copies of the di- 
aries was found in March 199 1 by construction workers renovating 
the Institute of Forensic Medicine, on Westerplatte Street (postwar 
name), Krakow, where it had been moved in summer 1944. The packet 
was hidden in the attic so as not to fall into the hands of the Soviets or 
the new communist government of Poland. It had been carefully 
packed and placed there by Stanislaw Grygiel, a worker at the insti- 
tute, who did not disclose the hiding place to anyone. 51 Some of the 
Katyn documents — perhaps salvaged from the fire at the PRC office in 
Warsaw during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 — also turned up in 
Krakow in 1991; they had been hidden by Robel's high school friend 
Professor Franciszek Bielak. 52 Finally, some of the Katyn items, still in 
the original envelopes, were hidden by a staff member of the Krakow 
City Archives, Dr. Henryk Munch, a former AK soldier, who also hid 
in these archives documents of the underground organization Wolnosc 
i Niepodleglosc [WIN — Freedom and Independence], to which he be- 
longed. He was arrested by Polish Security Police, who pressured the 
archive director, Professor Marian Friedberg, to find and deliver all 
other documents of interest to them. Friedberg knew of the hidden 
Katyn items and spent many hours combing the archives until he 
found them by their smell. They were hidden behind a large cupboard 
and packed in waxed paper. Friedberg took them home, where his wife 
repacked them, preserving the original envelope numbers, after which 
he entrusted them to the care of the Metropolitan Curia in Krakow — 
more specifically, to Archbishop Adam Stefan Sapieha. The Polish Se- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

curity Police seized the packet in November 1953 and took it to War- 
saw, where it was stored first in the Ministry of Public Security and 
then in the Ministry of Internal Affairs. It stayed there for almost half 
a century and was neither destroyed nor reported to Moscow. Polish 
authorities — probably General Czeslaw Kiszczak, then minister of in- 
ternal affairs — returned it to the Metropolitan Curia in Krakow on 3 
April 1990, ten days before the government of President Mikhail Gor- 
bachev admitted Soviet guilt for Katyn. The contents of the envelopes, 
along with papers and other memorabilia of thirty-one Katyn victims, 
were exhibited in Krakow in spring 2000. 53 

The Burdenko Commission and Its Report of 
24 January 1944 

The Red Army liberated the Smolensk region from the Germans on 2 5 
September 1943. Three weeks earlier, the chief surgeon of the Red 
Army, the brain specialist and academician Nikolai Burdenko, a mem- 
ber of the Special State Commission for Investigating the Crimes of the 
German Fascist Aggressors, had written a letter to Molotov. He said that 
his comparison of the German method of shooting 200 Soviet citizens 
at Orel, approximately 3 70 kilometers southeast of Smolensk — whose 
bodies were found among the 1,000 corpses buried there — with the 
method used at Katyn, a shot at the base of the skull, had convinced 
him the Germans had murdered the Polish officers, and offered his ex- 
pert services. On 22 September the chief of the Propaganda Depart- 
ment of the Central Committee, Georgy Aleksandrov, wrote to Alek- 
sandr Shcherbakov, head of the Main Political Administration of the 
Red Army, proposing the establishment of a special commission, made 
up of members of the Special State Commission and intelligence ser- 
vices, and sending them to the Katyn site. This was the basis for the 
later special Soviet commission for investigating the Katyn massacre, 
designed to counter the German "provocation" (that is, charging the 
Soviets with the Katyn crime) by carrying out an investigation of its 
own at Katyn. In a letter to Molotov of 27 September, Burdenko wrote 
that on the previous day he had received from Professor I. P. Trainin 
the commissar's instruction regarding an investigation in Smolensk 
Oblast, especially of the Katyn tragedy. In view of the need to exhume 
the corpses and examine the wounds, Burdenko proposed adding Efim 
Yuzefovich Smirnov, deputy head of the 1st Special Department of the 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


NKVD and a member of the Smolensk Oblast Committee, and his 
competent subordinates. This would allow the compilation of relevant 
documents to supplement Burdenko's own collection, and Burdenko 
hoped that everything would be organized by 29 September. Molotov 
noted that he did not speak with Trainin. 54 

It is now known that a large group of NKVD operational workers 
arrived in Katyn shortly after the Red Army liberated the area, and a 
report was prepared on the results of the preliminary investigation of 
the "so-called Katyn Question." This report, dated 10- 11 January 
1944, was signed by 1st Deputy Commissar for Internal Affairs Vsevo- 
lod Merkulov — who had supervised the extermination of the Polish 
officers and police in spring 1940 — and Deputy Commissar for Inter- 
nal Affairs Sergei Kruglov, who was also the supervisor of NKVD 
cadre affairs, including the staff of the UPV and the POW camps. They 
concluded, of course, that the Germans had committed the crime. The 
details of this NKVD preparatory work became known in 1990, when 
the investigators of the Russian Federation Main Military Prosecutor's 
Office learned that the operational workers sent from Moscow had 
prepared forged documents with dates later than May 1940 and placed 
them in the clothes of selected victims. The operational workers had 
also detained many persons who had worked for the Germans in 
Smolensk and in the villages near Katyn, and prepared selected "wit- 
nesses." According to a Soviet decree of 19 April 1943, these people 
were liable to the death penalty for the crime of "cooperating with the 
enemy," so when interrogated by NKVD officers, they agreed to say 
whatever they were told. Between 5 October 1943 and 10 January 
1944, NKVD investigators interrogated ninety-five persons and "veri- 
fied" (that is, formulated) seventeen statements later made before the 
special state commission. 55 

The Special State Commission for Ascertaining and Investigating 
the Circumstances of the Shooting of the Polish Prisoners of War by 
the German Fascist Invaders in the Katyn Forest was officially estab- 
lished on 13 January 1944. It was chaired by Burdenko, so it is com- 
monly referred to as the Burdenko Commission. Its members included 
such nationally known figures as the writer Alexei Tolstoy, also a 
member of the Special State Commission for Ascertaining and Investi- 
gating the Crimes Committed by the German Fascist Invaders and 
Their Associates, and Nikolai, Metropolitan of Kiev and Galicia. The 
commission was enlarged the next day by adding Vladimir Makarov, 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

head of the special commission that Tolstoy was a member of, as its 
secretary and five experts in forensic medicine, who later signed the re- 
port. It is clear that by 13 January — the first session — at least Bur- 
denko had read the Merkulov-Kruglov report, for he cited it, while 
others asked Kruglov questions. It is also clear that the commission 
had to support the Merkulov-Kruglov conclusions. It is not known 
how many of its members knew or suspected the truth at the time, but 
Burdenko may have done so. Shortly before his death in 1946, he re- 
portedly admitted to a family friend — Boris Olshansky — that as a 
doctor, he knew the graves were four years old, which would have 
dated them to 1940. He also said he believed the NKVD comrades had 
made a "great blunder." Burdenko's daughter-in-law allegedly con- 
firmed this statement to Yuri Zoria, son of the Soviet deputy prosecu- 
tor at the Nuremberg Trials, who died a mysterious death at Nurem- 
berg in May 1946. 56 

The Burdenko Commission report on the Katyn graves focused on 
rejecting the conclusions and evidence cited in the 1943 report of the 
IMC. The IMC consisted of experts in forensic medicine from coun- 
tries allied with or occupied by German forces and one neutral coun- 
try (Switzerland) who visited Katyn under German auspices on 28- 
30 April 1943. Their report appeared in the chief Nazi paper, the 
Volkischer Beobacbter [People's Observer] in Berlin, on 4 May 1943, 
and in a German documentary collection published shortly thereafter. 
The IMC members cited local Russians who told of the shooting in 
Katyn Forest and concluded on the basis of examining a few exhumed 
corpses that the victims had been shot in spring 1940, thus placing the 
blame squarely on the Russians. 57 The Burdenko Commission report 
argued against the medical evidence and conclusions of the IMC; it 
claimed that the Polish prisoners of war had fallen into German hands 
and were executed by the Germans at Katyn between July and Septem- 
ber 1941. The report named three German officers of the 537th Con- 
struction Battalion who allegedly carried out the massacre: Lieu- 
tenants Ahrens, Rekst, and Hodt (the names were misspelled). The 
German authorities were also accused of manipulating the evidence 
and intimidating Russian witnesses at Katyn in spring 1943 (the 
NKVD did both in 1943-1944) and of murdering the Russian prison- 
ers of war who had worked on digging in the grave pits and extracting 
the corpses, but evidence for such murder is lacking. The English ver- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


sion of the Burdenko Commission report was published in the Voks 
Bulletin, no. i (Moscow, 1944), and in a special supplement to the So- 
viet War Weekly (London) 3 February 1944. 58 An extract of the report 
was presented as evidence in 1946 by the Soviet prosecution at the 
Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals (doc. 106). Henceforth, the 
Katyn report of the Burdenko Commission was always presented and 
cited in Soviet media, encyclopedias, history books, and notes to for- 
eign governments until the official admission of Soviet guilt on 13 
April 1990. 

The Katyn Question at the Nuremberg Trials, 1946 

In late summer 1945 the victorious Allies agreed to set up the Inter- 
national Military Tribunal to try enemy war criminals, worked out a 
legal basis, and decided the tribunal should sit in the relatively undam- 
aged German city of Nuremberg, then in the American zone of occu- 
pation. According to Article 6 of the IMT Charter, the tribunal was 
"established for the trial and punishment of the major war criminals of 
the Axis countries." It was to "have the power to try and punish per- 
sons who, acting in the interests of the European Axis countries, 
whether as individuals or as members of organizations," committed 
crimes against peace. These crimes were listed as the planning, prepa- 
ration, initiation, or waging of a war of aggression. The tribunal was 
also empowered to try "violations of the laws or customs of war." 
These included the murder, ill-treatment, or deportation to slave labor 
of civilians; the murder or ill-treatment of prisoners of war or seamen; 
the killing of hostages; and plunder, as well as wanton destruction and 
devastation, unjustified by military necessity. The leaders and organiz- 
ers of such acts were held responsible for them. Finally, the IMT was 
empowered to try "crimes against humanity." These were listed as as- 
sassination, extermination, enslavement, deportation, ill-treatment of 
prisoners of war, and any other inhuman action committed against 
civilians before or after the war, as well as persecution on political, 
racial, or religious grounds. 59 

The Soviet government named Roman Rudenko, public prosecutor 
for the Ukrainian Soviet Republic, as chief Soviet prosecutor for the 
USSR. 60 A special state commission was established in Moscow in 
September 1945 to prepare materials for the Soviet prosecutor at 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Nuremberg. The importance attached to this issue by the Soviet lead- 
ership is shown by the fact that it was supervised by Molotov, and its 
materials were sent for approval to Stalin, Molotov, and Beria; Deputy 
Chairmen of the Soviet Council of Ministers Georgy Malenkov and 
Anastas Mikoyan; Politburo member Andrei Zhdanov; and Deputy 
Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vladimir Dekanozov. 61 

At the outset of the trials, a decision favored Moscow. The tribunal 
accepted the American-British proposal not to allow attacks by the de- 
fense on the Allied powers. Each delegation was to prepare a list of 
matters not to be discussed at the trial. The Soviet "blacklist," pre- 
pared in late November 1945, included the German-Soviet Non- 
Aggression Pact of 23 August 1939 (docs. 1, 2), the Baltic States, the 
German-Soviet population exchange agreements, the Balkans, Soviet- 
Polish relations, and Soviet foreign policy. However, this list was not 
presented to the Allied Prosecutors' Committee until after the chief 
American prosecutor, Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, 
noted on 8 March 1946 that the French and Soviet lists had not been 
received, and intimated that the defense could attack the policies of 
France and the USSR. 

The Soviet charges against the German Nazi leaders included the 
murder of the Polish officers at Katyn. This charge was added against 
the advice of Jackson and British Attorney General Sir Hartley Shaw- 
cross. In the English text of the indictment, dated 6 October 1945, the 
number of victims was specified as 925 — the number of exhumed bod- 
ies reported by the Burdenko Commission — but in the Russian text 
dated three days later, it was 11,000. The Soviet side interpreted Arti- 
cle 21 of the IMT Charter to mean that the report of the Burdenko 
Commission — an extract of which was submitted on 14 February 
1946 as USSR Document-054 (doc. 106) — would suffice as proof. Ar- 
ticle 21 of the charter read: "The Tribunal shall not require proof of 
facts of common knowledge but shall take judicial notice thereof. It 
shall also take judicial notice of official governmental documents and 
reports of the United Nations, including the acts and documents of the 
committees set up by the various countries for the investigation of war 
crimes, and the records and findings of military and other tribunals of 
any of the United Nations." 62 

Since Hermann Goering, the former commander of the German Air 
Force, was accused of all the war crimes, his defender, Dr. Otto Stah- 
mer, saw an opportunity to relieve him of responsibility for at least 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


one — the Katyn massacre. On 3 March 1946, he asked to call as wit- 
nesses for the defense the German officers listed in the Soviet accusa- 
tion. Indeed, at the tribunal session of 14 February, Soviet deputy pros- 
ecutor General Yuri Pokrovsky had read an extract from the report of 
the Burdenko Commission, according to which the Katyn massacre 
had been committed by the 537th Sappers (should be: Signals) Regi- 
ment of the Wehrmacht; it named the commanding officers, Ahrens, 
Rekst, and Hodt, as the murderers (doc. 106). 

On 11 March, the Soviet delegation presented its blacklist of topics 
not to be raised in the trials; it was almost the same as the one drawn 
up but not presented the previous November. That day, Rudenko in- 
sisted on the Soviet interpretation of Article 21 of the charter and 
opposed calling the German witnesses requested by Stahmer. The tri- 
bunal members met in closed session on 12 March to consider Ru- 
denko's claim that USSR Document-054 should be accepted as suffi- 
cient proof of the Soviet charge that the Germans had murdered the 
Polish officers at Katyn, without calling witnesses. During an internal 
debate among the U.S. IMT members, some strong protests were made 
against the Soviet stand, especially by former U.S. Attorney General 
Francis Biddle. He called Rudenko's petition "slanderous," said that 
its author should be cited for contempt, and even suggested sending 
him to prison immediately. Finally, the tribunal cut a deal with its So- 
viet member, Judge Yona Nikitchenko: to deny Rudenko's petition 
with no reason given. Nikitchenko dissented but did not raise Article 
21 again. 63 Such was the background of the instructions sent to 
Rudenko on 1 5 March to insist on the Soviet interpretation of this ar- 
ticle. If this failed, he was to request the attachment of the whole Bur- 
denko report to the Soviet accusation and demand the right to present 
Soviet witnesses (doc. 107). 

When the tribunal agreed to the admission of witnesses by both 
sides of the Katyn massacre case, the Special State Nuremberg Com- 
mission in Moscow issued instructions, on 21 March, to select and 
prepare witnesses for the Soviet side. Two months later the commis- 
sion nominated three witnesses. Later still, in June, it selected eight 
witnesses, but the tribunal decided to limit the witnesses to three for 
each side. 64 Thus it was that on 1-2 July 1946 three witnesses were 
heard for the defense: Colonel (formerly Lieutenant) Friedrich Ahrens, 
the commanding officer of the Army Group Center 5 3 7th Signals Reg- 
iment; Lieutenant Reinhard von Eichborn, who had been attached to 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

the regiment in August 1939 but had been transferred to the AGC 
Communications Department in August 1940 and arrived with it in 
Smolensk in late September 194 1; and Major General Eugen Ober- 
hauser, head of AGC communications. Likewise, three witnesses were 
heard for the prosecution: the former deputy mayor of Smolensk, 
Boris Bazilevsky, a professor of astronomy; the Bulgarian forensic 
medicine expert Professor Anton Marko Markov, who had testified in 
support of Soviet guilt in 1943 but now testified in support of German 
guilt; and Victor Prozorovsky, a Soviet professor of forensic medicine 
and a member of the Burdenko Commission. Stahmer's examination 
of the German witnesses cleared them of responsibility for the Katyn 
massacre, and the Katyn case was not listed in the IMT final verdicts. 65 
Still, Hermann Goering and other top Nazi leaders were pronounced 
guilty of all the crimes with which they were charged under Article 6 
(war crimes and crimes against humanity), and until mid-April 1990, 
all Soviet governments and official publications claimed that the So- 
viet Union had won its case on Katyn at Nuremberg. 

The London Poles made several attempts to present their informa- 
tion to the IMT but failed. The PRC Technical Commission report was 
given to the British government in London in March 1946, when it 
was also delivered by former PRC Secretary General Skarzyriski to the 
British diplomat Robert Hankey at the British Embassy in Warsaw. 
The British government did not take any steps in this matter, even 
though Sir Owen O'Malley, ambassador to the Polish government-in- 
exile, had made a convincing case of Soviet guilt three years earlier in 
his letter of 24 May 1943 to Foreign Secretary Sir Anthony Eden and 
wrote a devastating critique of the Burdenko Commission report in 
February 1944. 66 Undersecretary of State Sir Alexander Cadogan won- 
dered in May 1943 whether, if Russian guilt were established, Britain 
could expect the Poles to live amicably side by side with the Russians. 
He was also disturbed by the thought "that we may eventually, by 
agreement and in collaboration with the Russians, proceed to the trial 
and perhaps execution of Axis 'war criminals' while condoning this 
atrocity. I confess I shall find that extremely difficult to swallow." 67 
Both he and other British officials were to swallow it when the time 

Three years later, in April 1946, the British government had at its 
disposal not only the PRC report of June 1943 but also a dossier com- 
piled for the Polish government-in-exile in London titled Facts and 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Documents Concerning Polish Prisoners of War Captured by the 
U.S.S.R. in the 1939 Campaign. 68 On 17 May, Goering's defending 
counsel, Dr. Stahmer, wrote General Wladyslaw Anders asking for Pol- 
ish documents on Katyn, but Anders decided he could not cooperate in 
defending Goering. On 9 July 1946, his aide sent a copy of Stahmer's 
letter together with Anders's offer to provide a considerable number of 
documents on Katyn to the IMT — but only at its express written and 
official request — to Colonel J. L. Tappin, U.S. Army Liaison Section, 
American Forces Headquarters. There was no reply. 69 

Two questions involving Poland surfaced at Nuremberg. One was 
the case of the Secret Protocol attached to the German-Soviet Pact of 
23 August 1939, which claimed the life of the Soviet lawyer Nikolai 
Zoria. The other was the Katyn case, which may have been connected 
in some way with the death of a Polish lawyer, Roman Martini. In the 
summer and fall of 1944, N. Zoria, a military lawyer with the rank of 
general, served as legal counselor to Nikolai Bulganin, Soviet deputy 
minister of defense and special envoy to the communist-dominated 
Polish Committee of National Liberation in Lublin. Zoria asked to be 
relieved of his duties there in January 1945 and was appointed assis- 
tant to Soviet Prosecutor General Konstantin Gorshenin in May that 
year. In this capacity, he received a delegation of Polish lawyers led by 
the Polish minister of justice. After this visit the Polish deputy prosecu- 
tor for the Krakow region, Dr. Roman Martini of Krakow, was given 
the task of interrogating witnesses, writers, and literary critics about 
the Katyn massacre. In July 1945, he interrogated Skarzyhski about 
his visit to Katyn. He also interrogated Dr. Robel and his co-workers 
about their work on the Katyn envelopes. All members of Polish dele- 
gations to Katyn were accused of collaboration with the Germans. 
Skarzyhski and Goetel managed to escape, but others, including Dr. 
Edmund Seyfried, director of the RGO, received prison sentences. 70 
Martini was murdered in his Krakow apartment on iz March 1946. 
As rumor had it, this was because he was convinced of Soviet guilt by 
an NKVD document he found in the Gestapo archives in Minsk, Be- 
larus, and wrote a report blaming the USSR, naming several NKVD of- 
fices involved. Some, however, pinned the murder on the NKVD, while 
others saw it as revenge for Martini's seduction of a young girl. 71 Ac- 
cording to the Katyn author Zawodny, the murderers were reported 
to be "two hot-headed, youthful communists — a girl of seventeen, 
Jolanta Slapianka, and a man of twenty, Stanisfaw Wroblewski," but 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

he doubted this was true. According to another source, Slapianka and 
her alleged fiance, Wroblewski, committed the murder, after which 
they were both tried and sentenced. In fact, Wroblewski escaped from 
jail and joined a partisan unit fighting against the communist regime. 
He was caught, charged with actions aiming to overthrow the "demo- 
cratic" system of the Polish state, and executed in 1947. 72 Thus, 
Wroblewski's political profile points to yet another possibility — that 
Martini was murdered on the orders of a Polish underground organi- 
zation as a "collaborator" with the communist regime. 

Whatever the truth about Martini's death, his alleged report was 
certainly a fake. It appeared in an article published in the Swedish pa- 
per Dagens Nyheter [Daily News] on 13 February 1948. The anony- 
mous author claimed that Martini dug up some of the Katyn graves 
himself, although it is clear that he could not have done so without So- 
viet permission, and it is most unlikely that permission would have 
been given. Worse still, in citing Martini's alleged report, the author 
gave the names of Jewish NKVD officers allegedly involved in the mas- 
sacre — names cited in a German propaganda leaflet of 1943, hence 
obviously false. 73 In conclusion, it is known that Martini interrogated 
many people on what they knew about Katyn, but while his death still 
needs clarification, it is clear that he did not write a report on the 
Katyn massacre pointing to Soviet guilt. 

The case of Nikolai Zoria's death is more clear-cut. At the end of De- 
cember 1945, he flew to Nuremberg to serve as the assistant to 
Rudenko at the IMT Zoria had orders to prevent former German For- 
eign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop from speaking about the Secret 
Protocol to the German-Soviet Non- Aggression Pact of 23 August 
1939. Although the tribunal refused to allow the reading of the text by 
Rudolf Hess's defender, Alfred Seidl, because he would not divulge his 
source, former German Deputy Foreign Minister Ernst von Weiz- 
sacker revealed the contents when cross-examined by Seidl on 21 May 
1946. The text appeared the next day in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — 
and Zoria was found dead in his room at Nuremberg. 74 That after- 
noon, his son Yuri was called to the Prosecutor General's Office in 
Moscow and told that his father had shot himself. A year later, when 
young Zoria entered the Soviet Naval School, he was given an official 
statement that his father had died by accident due to the "careless han- 
dling of arms." 75 Zoria Junior's quest to find the truth about his fa- 
ther's death led him to work together with Natalia Lebedeva on a new 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Russian edition of the documents of the Nuremberg Trials and then to 
research on the Katyn massacre. 

The Congressional (Madden) Committee Investigation 
of the Katyn Forest Massacre, 1951-1952 

Like the British government, the Roosevelt administration also sup- 
pressed media coverage of Katyn in 1943 -194 5 in the interest of Al- 
lied unity, so the issue was unfamiliar to the American public. Interest 
in Katyn revived among Polish- Americans with a series of articles and 
Polish documents that appeared in the leading Polish- American news- 
paper of the time, Nowy Swiat [New World], in March 1948. But they 
were written in Polish, so they had no impact on public opinion gener- 
ally. 76 These articles, combined with the Cold War climate (the Soviet 
Berlin Blockade and Western airlift from spring 1948 through June 
1949), led the Polish-American Congress (PAC, founded in May 1944) 
to push for an investigation of the Katyn massacre. On 13 April 1949, 
PAC President Charles Rozmarek sent a telegram to the U.S. ambas- 
sador to the United Nations, the Republican lawyer and politician 
Warren Austin, requesting him to raise the Katyn issue and "demand 
an immediate and impartial investigation of one of the world's most 
heinous crimes." This venture failed. 77 

The topic was next taken up by the journalist Julius Epstein, who 
published a series of articles in the New York Herald Tribune in July 
1949. Epstein had worked in the Office of War Information during the 
war and became interested in Katyn at that time, but did not write 
about it owing to the government's policy of suppressing media dis- 
cussion of the topic. Now he called for the establishment of an Ameri- 
can Committee of Investigation of the Katyn Murders, 78 and at the re- 
quest of Congressman George A. Dondero (D-Mich.), the first Epstein 
article was reprinted in the Congressional Record. 79 Soon thereafter, 
Congressman Ray J. Madden (D-Ind.) addressed a PAC group meeting 
on 18 September 1949 at Gary, Indiana, that unanimously passed a 
resolution calling for an investigation of the Katyn massacre. The res- 
olution demanded that the Soviet government accept an investigation 
by the International Red Cross, whose findings would be submitted to 
an international tribunal. On 29 September, Madden submitted the 
PAC resolution for consideration by the House of Representatives but 
found that most of his fellow congressmen had not heard of the Katyn 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

massacre. Meanwhile, when Epstein approached the State Depart- 
ment with a proposal to write a program on Katyn for the Voice of 
America (VOA), he was told that the department was not interested. 
When Epstein pressed for an explanation, the head of the VOA Polish 
Desk told him that Katyn "would create too much hatred against Sta- 
lin among the Poles and that the [desk chief] hadn't gotten the green 
light from Washington to use anything . . . about Katyn." 80 

Epstein then had the idea of establishing a private committee of dis- 
tinguished Americans and turned to Arthur Bliss Lane, a former U.S. 
ambassador to Poland who had resigned over the rigged elections 
"won" by the Polish communists in January 1947. Lane welcomed the 
idea and, together with Epstein, established the American Committee 
for the Investigation of the Katyn Massacre. Lane became its presi- 
dent, with Epstein as executive secretary; the committee members in- 
cluded the former director of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), 
William Donovan, and his former agent in Switzerland, Allan Dulles; 
the well-known journalists Claire Boothe Luce and Dorothy Thomp- 
son; and PAC President Charles Rozmarek. The committee, an- 
nounced at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, New York, on 21 November 
1949, was cold-shouldered by the administration. The State Depart- 
ment sent a representative but refused to broadcast the proceedings. 
The Internal Revenue Service was also uncooperative, refusing to 
grant the committee tax-exempt status on the grounds that "it had no 
educational value." 81 

The Lane Committee paved the way for more action on Katyn. The 
time was propitious. The communist victory over Chiang Kai-shek in 
China in October 1949 spurred suspicions that like Poland at Yalta, 
China had been "sold down the river" with the aid of communists 
within the U.S. government. Indeed, Senator Joseph McCarthy (R- 
Wis.) made this charge repeatedly in his Senate hearings. After the Ko- 
rean War broke out in June 1950, U.S. war crimes investigators soon 
documented cases of American prisoners killed by a shot at the base of 
the skull. This was too reminiscent of the Katyn executions to escape 
the notice of American supporters of a Katyn investigation. 82 Con- 
gressman Timothy P. Sheehan (R-Ill.), who had promised to work for a 
Katyn investigation in order to win the Polish-American vote in his dis- 
trict, introduced House Resolution 282 on 26 June 19 51. It called for 
the establishment of a select committee of thirteen representatives of 
the House, appointed by the Speaker, to conduct a full investigation of 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


the Katyn massacre. His resolution became stuck for a while in the 
Rules Committee, but moved forward thanks to thousands of letters 
sent by Polish- Americans. On 18 September 19 51, Congressman Mad- 
den, supported by the House majority leader, John McCormack, rein- 
troduced the Sheehan resolution as House Resolution 390; it called for 
a Katyn investigation to be carried out by a committee of seven House 
members. This time, the resolution passed unanimously. House Speaker 
Sam Rayburn appointed a bipartisan committee with members from 
districts with significant Polish-American populations. 83 

The Madden Committee was unique in the annals of Congress but 
fit well into the contemporary American political scene. The Republi- 
cans launched strong attacks on the Democrats for "selling out" East- 
ern Europe, as well as China, to the communists. This atmosphere al- 
lowed Senator McCarthy to call for the repudiation of the Yalta 
agreements of February 1945 and to press his witch hunt for commu- 
nists within the U.S. government. Rozmarek supported McCarthy's 
call because of his great personal resentment of President Franklin De- 
lano Roosevelt. The president had secured Rozmarek's support, and 
thus the votes of most Polish Americans in the elections of November 
1944, with a promise he did not keep. He had promised to work for an 
independent Poland or justice for Poland — one or the other. 84 How- 
ever, Roosevelt and Churchill went on to sign the Yalta agreements, 
which, as it turned out, placed Poland and most of Eastern Europe un- 
der Soviet domination. 85 

The Madden Committee hearings, designed to gather evidence for a 
trial before an international tribunal, began on 4 February 19 5 2. Let- 
ters of invitation had been sent on 18 September 19 51 to the govern- 
ments of the USSR, Poland, the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), 
and the exiled Polish government in London. The FRG and the Lon- 
don Poles accepted with alacrity, but this was not the case with Mos- 
cow and Warsaw. On 25 February 1952 the State Department sent the 
resolution, together with a letter by Madden, to the Soviet Embassy in 
Washington, D.C. Madden requested the Soviet government to pro- 
vide information about the Katyn massacre. The Soviet Embassy re- 
plied on 29 February in a note to the State Department. It returned 
Madden's letter and the resolution, describing it as contrary to the 
norms of international behavior and insulting to the Soviet Union. The 
note also stated that the Katyn question had been investigated by a 
special (Soviet) government commission — that is, the Burdenko Com- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

mission — which concluded that the massacre was the work of Nazi 
criminals. It went on to say that this report had been published in the 
press on 26 January 1944, and the U.S. government had not expressed 
any reservations during the eight years since that time, so the aim of 
raising this question now could only be to slander the USSR and reha- 
bilitate the Nazi criminals. 86 The embassy also enclosed the text of the 
special commission's conclusions of 26 January 1944 (doc. 106). The 
Soviet response was broader, too. A press campaign was unleashed in 
the USSR and the communist states of Eastern Europe; the findings of 
the Burdenko Commission were published again, and the Madden 
Committee was attacked for allegedly repeating Nazi lies. While the 
committee held its hearings, Soviet propaganda — surely not coinci- 
dentally — accused the United States of committing war crimes in Ko- 
rea, especially massacring Chinese and North Korean prisoners of 
war. 87 

The Madden Committee interviewed many witnesses in both the 
United States and Europe. Its interim report, submitted to Congress on 
2 July 19 52, stated that the evidence conclusively proved the massacre 
of Polish officers at Katyn had been carried out by the NKVD, and not 
later than spring 1940. The committee members also stated their belief 
that the massacre "was a calculated plot to eliminate all Polish leaders 
who subsequently would have opposed the Soviet's plans for commu- 
nizing Poland." 88 The committee then proceeded to investigate why 
the Katyn massacre was never adequately revealed to the American 
people and the rest of the world and why it was not adjudicated at the 
Nuremberg Trials. Prominent U.S. officials subpoenaed to appear be- 
fore the committee included W. Averell Harriman, the former U.S. am- 
bassador in Moscow; Justice Robert Jackson, chief American prosecu- 
tor at the Nuremberg Trials; Admiral William H. Standley, Harriman's 
predecessor in Moscow; and former Undersecretary of State Sumner 
Welles. All denied knowledge of any attempt by the State Department 
to suppress information incriminating the USSR. However, they also 
stressed the need for Soviet military cooperation in the war against 
Germany and the goal of Soviet entry into the United Nations as key 
factors in U.S. wartime policy on the Katyn issue. Still, when, the com- 
mittee presented its conclusions on 22 December 1952 (doc. 109), it 
emphasized the deliberate withholding of information by the U.S. gov- 
ernment, pointing in particular to the case of Colonel John H. Van 
Vliet, who had been brought to Katyn by the Germans as part of a 
group of Allied prisoners of war. His report to General Clayton Bissell, 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


then head of Army Intelligence, disappeared, and no one could shed 
any light on the matter. Two other Americans whose reports on Katyn 
were suppressed were Colonel Henry Szymanski, U.S. liaison officer 
with the Polish Army 2nd Corps (led by General Anders), and George 
Earle, Roosevelt's special emissary in the Balkans and Turkey. It 
should also be noted that in 194 3 -194 5 the U.S. government censored 
media reports on Katyn. 89 

The Madden Committee failed to achieve its main goal, a trial of the 
Katyn case by the United Nations or some other international tri- 
bunal. The new Republican administration delivered the committee's 
final report to the United Nations on 10 February 1953, and the U.S. 
ambassador to the United Nations, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., sent two 
sets of the published hearings to U.N. Secretary General Trygve Lie. 
The U.S. government, however, had more important concerns. Peace 
negotiations with North Korea were stalled at Panmunjon (Panmun- 
jeom) and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who had campaigned on 
the promise of ending the war, needed Soviet cooperation to achieve 
this goal. 90 In any case, the Madden Committee was unpopular in 
Democratic circles not only because it seemed to align itself with 
McCarthy, but also because many prominent members of the Roose- 
velt and Truman administrations were charged with suppressing in- 
formation on Katyn. The same circles also had a generally negative at- 
titude toward the exiled Polish government in London, which was 
pushing for a trial of the Katyn case. For all these reasons, the hearings 
received wide publicity in Polish-American but not in mainstream 
American media. Their primary importance now is as a mine of infor- 
mation on Polish prisoners of war in the USSR and on the Katyn mas- 
sacre. On 13 April 2003, the sixtieth anniversary of the German an- 
nouncement on the Katyn graves, the documents collected by the 
Madden Committee were delivered to the Rada Ochrony Pami^ci 
Walk i M^czehstwa [Council for the Protection of the Memory of 
Combat and Martyrdom] by Allen Paul, the author of a valuable work 
on the massacres of spring 1940. 91 

The Soviet Destruction of Evidence 

and the Monuments to Katyn, 195 2- 1976 

Nikita Khrushchev did not list Katyn among the Stalinist crimes that 
he excoriated in his famous speech at the Twentieth Party Congress in 
February 1956. His son, Sergei Khrushchev, writes that he first heard 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

of Katyn sometime in 1956 but did not believe the story until Ivan 
Serov, NKVD head in Ukraine from 1939 to 194 1, confirmed it. As 
Sergei recalls, when asked about Katyn, Serov "reacted angrily, I 
would even say painfully, to the question. He started to make caustic 
remarks about the Belorussian Chekists [that is, the NKVD], who, in his 
opinion, had been unforgivably careless. [Serov said] 'They couldn't 
cope with such a small matter' — in a fit of anger he let the cat out of 
the bag. 'There was a lot more in the Ukraine when I was there. But not 
a thing was said about it, nobody found even a trace.'" 92 

There were rumors in Poland that Khrushchev had proposed admit- 
ting Soviet guilt for Katyn to Polish communist leader Wladyslaw Go- 
mulka, who was elected First Secretary by the Central Committee of 
the Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza [PZPR — United Polish 
Workers' Party] in October 1956. Though undocumented, these ru- 
mors cannot be dismissed out of hand. Soviet Central Committee offi- 
cial Pyotr Kostikov told a Polish journalist and personal friend of hear- 
ing from "a highly reliable source" — after the most important facts 
about the Katyn massacre became known — that the Soviet leader 
made such a proposal to Gomulka during his official visit to Moscow 
(no date, but most likely in late 1956). Khrushchev, who had been 
drinking, allegedly suggested that he would state at a "peace meeting" 
in a Moscow factory where both leaders were to speak, that Katyn was 
an evil deed of Stalin's. He allegedly proposed that Gomulka support 
this statement by saying that the Polish nation condemned Stalin's ac- 
tion and that common misfortune strengthened their friendship. Khru- 
shchev said this would put an end to the whole terrible affair once and 
for all. Gomulka, however, allegedly declined the offer, saying that 
Khrushchev did not realize what the Polish reaction to this would be: a 
chain reaction. He also asked if Khrushchev had any documents and 
said there would be other questions — for example, were all the Polish 
officers buried at Katyn, and if not, where? Therefore, the matter had 
to be considered seriously and not just mentioned at a meeting. 93 In 
fact, Gomulka ordered the Polish media to be silent on Katyn, a silence 
maintained until 1989. 

Meanwhile, important evidence of the crime was eliminated in Mos- 
cow, following a decision made in 1959 to destroy the personal files 
of the Polish prisoners who had been murdered in spring 1940. In a 
note for Khrushchev dated 9 March 1959, Aleksandr Shelepin, then 
head of the KGB, gave the total number of Polish victims shot in spring 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


1940, including those shot in prisons, as 2.1,857 an d stated, "All the 
21,857 files have been kept in a sealed facility." He commented that 
these files were of no "operational value" and that it was doubtful 
whether they were of any interest to "our Polish friends" — a reference 
to the ruling Polish party, the PZPR. Because of his view of the files, as 
well as the conclusions of the Burdenko Commission, Shelepin pro- 
posed that all the files of those shot in 1940 be destroyed. Neverthe- 
less, to answer any potential questions, he suggested preserving the 
protocols of the NKVD Troika that had sentenced the prisoners, along 
with the files concerning the implementation of the sentences (doc. 
no). 94 

It is likely that not only the personal files were destroyed at this time 
but also those Shelepin had proposed keeping. According to the ac- 
count of an unnamed NKVD veteran, Khrushchev ordered both kinds 
of files to be destroyed. 95 Polish historians doubt this was done, be- 
cause there is no record of the destruction, whereas a vast number of 
documents have been found in the Russian archives relating to the Pol- 
ish prisoners of war held in the USSR in 1939-1940. Whatever the 
case may be, no personal files (with the exception of the file for the po- 
liceman Stefan [Szczepan] S. Olejnik; doc. 38) and no documents on 
the Troika decisions on the prisoners of war from the three special 
camps, or their implementation, are accessible to this day. 

Whatever the fate of the NKVD files on these prisoners, the Soviet 
version of Katyn became enshrined not only in Soviet history books 
and encyclopedias but also in monuments. A monument to the Polish 
victims was erected at Katyn in the late 1940s, to be replaced by a new 
one in the early 1960s. The first one, probably erected in 1945, read: 
"Here are buried the prisoner officers of the Polish Army murdered in 
terrible torments by the German -Fascist occupiers in the fall of 194 1." 
Another inscription, noted some thirty years later, read: "Here rest the 
remains of Polish officers, prisoners of war bestially martyred by the 
German-Fascist occupiers in the fall of 1941." 96 The Soviet govern- 
ment also erected a memorial to people murdered by the Germans in a 
Belorussian village near Minsk named Khatyn, which misled some for- 
eign tourists, politicians, and journalists. For instance, two American 
journalists writing about President Richard Nixon's state visit to the 
USSR in May 1972 stated, "He visited Katyn, where 149 Russians had 
been forced into a barn and burned alive by Nazi troops on 22 March 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Anglo-American media were silent on Katyn until the publication of 
Zawodny's book, Death in the Forest, in the United States in 1962. 
Neither this excellent study nor the publication of The Crime of Katyn 
(a translation of Zbrodnia Katynska) in London in 1965 led to much 
discussion or action in the West. The situation changed, however, in 
January 1971 with the reprint of Zawodny's book in England. This led 
to reviews in the Times of London, which published correspondence 
on the topic in January-February, followed by correspondence in the 
Daily Telegraph in March -April. Next, the American journalist Louis 
FitzGibbon published a book titled Katyn: A Crime without Parallel, 
and then it was announced that a film would be shown on a British 
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) television program. All this activity 
worried the Soviet government. On 15 April 1971, the Politburo ap- 
proved the instructions for the Soviet ambassador in London. He was 
to point out that the IMT at Nuremberg had judged the chief German 
war criminals guilty of conducting a policy of extermination against 
the Polish nation — in particular, of shooting the Polish prisoners of 
war in Katyn Forest. He was to express the Soviet expectation that the 
British Foreign Office would prevent the spread of "slanderous mate- 
rials" on Katyn, whose authors wished to worsen British-Soviet rela- 
tions. The protest was to no avail, for the film, titled The Issue to Be 
Avoided, was shown on BBC TV Channel 2 on 19 April 1971. 98 

At this time, some British Conservatives used Katyn as a weapon in 
attacking the Labour government of the day as too friendly to the 
USSR. Others, however, seized the opportunity to seek justice for the 
murdered Poles. On 21 April, a Conservative member of Parliament, 
Airey Neave — an admirer of the Polish contribution to the defeat of 
Nazi Germany in World War II — proposed a resolution in the House 
of Commons that the British government request the United Nations 
to appoint a committee to examine the Katyn case. Although this reso- 
lution was signed by 224 members of Parliament, it did not impact the 
government's policy toward the USSR. On 17 July 19 71 there was a 
debate in the House of Lords, initiated by another admirer of the 
Poles, Lord St. Oswald, whose wife was Polish. Lord Robin Hankey, 
who had received a copy of the PRC Technical Commission report of 
1943 from Skarzyriski in March 1946, stated, however, that the key is- 
sue still unresolved was the dating of the documents on the corpses, so 
"there is a residual, legitimate doubt." 99 Indeed, until the Soviet ad- 
mission of guilt in April 1990, the attitude of successive British gov- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

ernments was that the "lack of conclusive evidence" prevented out- 
right condemnation of the USSR. That attitude notwithstanding, the 
dominant consideration was the desire for good relations with Mos- 
cow and Warsaw, and the same was true for the United States. In July 
1971, when PAC Chairman Alojzy Mazewski requested the U.S. am- 
bassador to the United Nations, George Herbert Walker Bush, to pro- 
pose a U.N. investigation of Katyn, no action followed. 

In January 1972, the opening of the British Foreign Office archives 
for 1943 -1944 led to the establishment of the Katyn Memorial Fund 
(KMF), which was the first to publish Ambassador Owen O'Malley's 
letters to Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden on Katyn. The prospective 
site for the monument was the long-unused cemetery of St. Luke's (An- 
glican) Church, Chelsea, offered to the KMF by the town council of 
the Borough of Kensington-Chelsea, located near the center of Lon- 
don. 100 The proposal to build a monument provoked another Soviet 
protest in September that year, this time to the British ambassador in 
Moscow. Soviet Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Andrei Kozyrev 
made the protest to British Ambassador Sir John Killick, but the latter 
replied that "this was not a matter within the direct responsibility of 
HMG [Her Majesty's Government]." However, the head of the East 
European and Soviet Department in the Foreign and Commonwealth 
Office noted that the Katyn memorial project was sponsored, among 
others, by a number of bitterly anti-Soviet Poles who viewed building 
it as a political act. Believing that the Foreign and Commonwealth Of- 
fice must, above all, attend to British relations with Poland and the 
USSR, he advised "that everything possible be done to ensure that any 
Katyn memorial that may be put up is (a) inconspicuously sited and (b) 
not provocative in any respect, particularly in its inscription." 101 

Nevertheless, in October 1972 it appeared that the Katyn memorial 
would be placed in the cemetery of St. Luke's Church, Chelsea. Fur- 
thermore, the intended inscription mentioned 1940 as the date of the 
Katyn massacre and read: "The conscience of the world cries out for a 
testimony of the truth." Deputy Undersecretary of State Sir Thomas 
Brimelow thought the date incriminated the Russians and would have 
adverse political consequences, but he did not object to the inscription 
if there were no date. 102 In Moscow, Foreign Minister Andrei Gro- 
myko proposed countering the "anti-Soviet campaign" in Britain, and 
on 2 March 1973 instructions were sent to the Soviet ambassador in 
London to make an official protest to the British government about the 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Katyn memorial project (doc. in). Some local opposition was also re- 
ported in Chelsea, and since St. Luke's was an Anglican church, the 
Diocesan Consistory Court of the Church of England became in- 
volved. In summer 1974, the court heard the proponents and oppo- 
nents of locating the memorial in St. Luke's Cemetery. The lawyer for 
the Church of England proposed a compromise formula on the date — 
it was to be 194 1, which may indicate British government intervention 
in favor of the Soviet stand. The KMF rejected the formula, so on 1 5 
January 1975 the consistory court issued a negative verdict. The KMF 
appealed the verdict but lost. 103 

The Soviet government won this battle, but the KMF triumphed in 
the end. In late 1975 the Borough of Kensington-Chelsea council of- 
fered a new site for the memorial on land it owned in the Kensington 
Church Cemetery, Gunnersbury Avenue, Hounslow, Middlesex, on 
the outskirts of Greater London. In the face of this development, the 
Politburo decided on 5 April 1976 to abstain from official declarations 
but to work closely with its "Polish friends" (the PZPR leadership) re- 
garding the Katyn question and to use unofficial channels to persuade 
people in Western government circles that such actions and "forg- 
eries" (reference to the 1940 date of the massacre) were seen as pro- 
vocative by the Soviet government, and aimed to worsen international 
relations (doc. 112). 

Despite Soviet pressure on the Kensington-Chelsea Borough Council 
to refuse permission for the memorial, and the unsympathetic attitude 
of the Labour government of the day, the Katyn obelisk was finally un- 
veiled on 18 September 1976 at a well-attended ceremony in the Ken- 
sington Church Cemetery. 104 Although the anniversary of the Soviet in- 
vasion of former eastern Poland was 17 September, the unveiling took 
place on the 18 th because it was a Sunday and more people could at- 
tend. The War Office forbade attendance by British military personnel 
in uniform; still, a few retired British officers attended in full uniform 
with decorations. The British government declined to send an official 
representative, justifying this by the lack of "conclusive evidence" of 
Soviet guilt; its attitude was heavily criticized in the press. Nonethe- 
less, Margaret Thatcher, the leader of the Conservative Party, sent a 
representative, and a prominent participant in the ceremony was the 
ninety-four-year-old Lord Emmanuel Shinwell, a Labour peer. He 
hewed to the official line in saying that he was not sure who had com- 
mitted the crime, Germans or Russians. However, he also regretted 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


that the government had not sent a representative, and asked, "What 
are they afraid of? The big bad wolf?" 105 

Public Pressure in Poland and the 

Crumbling of the Soviet Cover-Up, 1980-1990 

After the unveiling of the Katyn monument in London, Katyn disap- 
peared for many years from Western media headlines, but it was not 
forgotten in Poland. A symbolic Katyn grave in the military section of 
Old Powazki Cemetery, Warsaw, was always decorated with fresh flow- 
ers, and a cross was built there by activists of the Komitet Katyhski 
[Katyn Committee] on 31 July 198 1, that is, during the Solidarity pe- 
riod (30 August 1980-13 December 1981). The cross was taken down 
by the authorities, as was the cross put up there in December 1981, but 
the Katyn Committee persisted in organizing ceremonies and speeches 
on key anniversaries: the discovery of the Katyn massacre on 13 April 
1943, the Soviet invasion of eastern Poland on 17 September 1939, 
and the prewar Independence Day, 11 November. Four leaders of the 
underground Konfederacja Polski Niepodleglej [KPN — Confedera- 
tion of Independent Poland], which organized the Katyn commemora- 
tions, were tried in October 19 8z by a military court on charges of 
slandering the USSR and advocating an "anti-national policy." They 
were sentenced to prison for three to seven years, but the sentences 
were quashed after the collapse of communism in Poland in summer 
1989. 106 

In 1988 the media liberalization that accompanied President Mikhail 
Gorbachev's glasnost [open discussion] policy and the ensuing public 
discussion of Stalinist crimes in the USSR also led to the relaxation of 
censorship in Poland, resulting in growing pressure for the truth on 
Katyn. This time, the pressure enjoyed official toleration, for Polish 
Premier General Wojciech Jaruzelski and his advisers believed that So- 
viet admission of the truth about Katyn, and the filling in of other 
"blank spots" in the history of Polish-Soviet relations, would lead to 
broader public acceptance of close relations with the USSR, while also 
making the government more popular at home. Indeed, Jaruzelski as- 
serts that he had proposed the resolution of the Katyn problem to Gor- 
bachev on the latter's first state visit to Poland in April 1985, but Gor- 
bachev said that while he understood the need, he had just taken up his 
duties and needed time to study the matter. In spring 1987, during 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Jaruzelski's visit to Moscow, and on his initiative, the two leaders 
agreed to set up the Joint Commission of Soviet-Polish Party Histori- 
ans to study historical blank spots in mutual relations. It was duly es- 
tablished in May 1987. 107 

The Polish historians set themselves the goal of finding the truth 
about Katyn, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, and other painful issues 
in mutual relations by obtaining access to Soviet archives. These 
archives, however, remained closed, and the Soviet historians on the 
joint commission could not give up their support for the Burdenko 
Commission report (doc. 106) without the permission of the Polit- 
buro. Most of the Politburo members, however, opposed changing the 
party line, and Gorbachev had to take this into account. Anatoly Cher- 
naev, Gorbachev's foreign policy adviser since 1986, wrote that in 
summer 1987, when Gorbachev received a series of letters "inspired 
by Poland" (presumably the Polish government) from England and the 
Scandinavian countries, "we [the group of advisers headed by Cher- 
naev] wrote a memo summarizing the letters for Gorbachev. They 
blamed the USSR for the execution of the Polish officers, demanded 
that the guilty be punished, and asked that the Poles be given permis- 
sion to visit the burial grounds." The advisers mentioned the Soviet 
special state (Burdenko) commission report and the failure of Soviet 
prosecutors at Nuremberg to get the tribunal to name the Katyn mas- 
sacre in the final verdict. They wrote: "But now that joint research 
concerning historical 'blank spots' is under way, we will not be able to 
talk ourselves out of this issue. We should make everything clear, at 
least for ourselves. The Central Committee staff reports that some evi- 
dence even survived in the Smolensk archives. Obviously, then, there 
must be something in the KGB and Central Committee archives. 
Could we have Comrades Chebrikov, Lukianov, and Boldin work on 
this?" Gorbachev did not reply, so presumably there was no support 
for this proposal, or it was not even considered. 108 

The most the Politburo would do in May 1988 was decide that a 
memorial to the Polish officers should be built at Katyn as part of the 
next five-year plan, with the participation of the Polish side if it so 
wished, but that it should be built together with a memorial to Soviet 
prisoners of war allegedly murdered there by the Germans. The Polit- 
buro also agreed to simplify the procedure for visits to the site by rela- 
tives of the victims. 109 Indeed, on 25 May 1988, Pravda gave an 
account of — and two days later Radio Moscow's English-language 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


program World Service reported on — a ceremony for unveiling the 
Katyn memorial in the village of Katyn near Smolensk. The memorial 
inscription read: "To the Polish officers shot by the fascists in 194 1." 
The ceremony was attended by a delegation from the Polish province 
of Cz^stochowa, whose governor, General Grzegorz Lipowski, laid a 
wreath and stated that the officers had been murdered by the Ger- 
mans. 110 

The Polish political situation changed dramatically in early 1989. 
There was increased pressure by Polish public opinion for the admis- 
sion of the truth about Katyn, and the Polish leadership was negotiat- 
ing on political and economic issues with the opposition, the Solidarity 
movement. Roundtable Talks began in early February between the 
party and government leaders on the one hand and the Solidarity lead- 
ership and its advisers on the other; these talks ended in a series of 
agreements signed in early April, including the setting of elections for 
4 June 1989. Meanwhile, the Joint Commission of Soviet-Polish Party 
Historians was marking time. At the suggestion of a member of the So- 
viet group, Professor Oleg Rzheshevsky, who wanted to delay discus- 
sion of the Katyn question, the Polish historians analyzed the Bur- 
denko report, and in May they unexpectedly delivered to their Soviet 
colleagues a devastating critique that deprived it of any credibility. The 
Soviet historians, however, had no mandate to reveal new documents 
to buttress the Burdenko Commission findings, which they were still 
bound to support. 111 

The political situation in Poland was the backdrop for the 22 March 
1989 note to the Central Committee of the CPSU signed by Eduard 
Shevardnadze, then Soviet foreign minister; Valentin Falin, director of 
the International Department of the CC CPSU; and Vladimir Kri- 
uchkov, chairman of the KGB (doc. 113). This is the first documented 
suggestion by high-level Soviet officials that the government admit the 
crime was committed by the NKVD. They had in mind the pressure of 
Polish public opinion for the truth about Katyn. Furthermore, they 
knew that reformers in the Polish Party and, in particular, General 
Jaruzelski, believed that Soviet admission of the truth was the only 
way to build sincere and trusting relations between the two countries. 
Accordingly, the Katyn report of the PRC Technical Commission (doc. 
105b) was published in the Polish weekly Odrodzenie [Rebirth] on 16 
February 1989 and was the main feature in the most outspoken weekly 
Polityka two days later. These publications were echoed in the Soviet 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

capital when Moscow radio cited the PRC report on zo February and 
stated that the evidence pointed to a massacre date in early 1940 and 
to the NKVD. The next day, Jerzy Urban, the Polish government 
spokesman, referred to the Polish press and the Moscow radio com- 
ments. He went further on 7 March, when he told a press conference 
that Polish historians on the Joint Commission of Soviet-Polish Party 
Historians believed that the NKVD was the perpetrator of the Katyn 
massacre. The British Embassy in Warsaw noted: "Through Urban, 
the Polish authorities have for the first time placed the blame for Katyn 
directly on the Russians." 112 

In this situation, the Politburo decided on 31 March 1989 to in- 
struct the Prosecutor General's Office, the Committee for State Secu- 
rity (KGB), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MID), and the Central 
Committee Departments of State Law, International Affairs, and Ideo- 
logical Affairs to come up with a proposal on the future Soviet line on 
the Katyn question, and to do so within a month (doc. 114). Three 
weeks later, a note signed by several officials stated that the extermina- 
tion in 1939 {sic) of about 12,000 {sic) Polish officers gave grounds for 
the conclusion that only some part of that number were killed at 
Katyn. The fate of the rest was unknown, although Polish and Western 
publications mentioned Bologoe in Kalinin Oblast and Dergachi in 
Kharkov Oblast. The note suggested an investigation by the Prosecu- 
tor General's Office in cooperation with the KGB (doc. 115). The KGB 
dragged its feet, but events in Poland put increasing pressure on the So- 
viet government to take action. 

The elections of 4 June 1989 to the Sejm [lower house of the Polish 
Parliament, pronounced Seym], in which the PZPR lost overwhelm- 
ingly to Solidarity candidates, marked the beginning of the collapse of 
communism in that country, but this was not clear at the time. In a po- 
litical compromise, the non-PZPR majority in the Sejm elected Gen- 
eral Wojciech Jaruzelski as president in July — though with just one 
vote more than the number required — and the first mostly noncom- 
munist government was formed by Premier Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a 
Solidarity leader, in early September 1989. 

The Polish media now increased their pressure for the truth about 
Katyn. The Polish Party historians' devastating critique of the Bur- 
denko Commission report of 1944, handed to their Soviet colleagues 
in May 1988, was summarized in the 19 August 1989 issue of Poli- 
tyka. Here, Polish historians related the known history of the Katyn 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

crime, concluded that the Burdenko Commission findings were un- 
doubtedly false, and claimed that the NKVD bore full responsibility 
for the extermination of the Kozelsk prisoners at Katyn, as well as the 
extermination of the prisoners of Starobelsk and Ostashkov, even 
though their burial sites could not be established without access to 
Russian documents. 113 On 30 September the secretary of state in the 
Polish Foreign Ministry, Boleslaw Kulski, stated in the Sejm that it was 
necessary to uncover the full truth about Katyn. The Polish govern- 
ment had asked the Soviet government several times for the archival 
documents, he said, and once the full truth was revealed, the Polish 
government could seek compensation for victims' families and follow 
the trail of those responsible for the crime. On 12 October the Polish 
press reported that the Polish prosecutor general had requested his 
Soviet opposite number to conduct an investigation. On 23 Novem- 
ber, Premier Mazowiecki, then on a visit to Moscow, asked President 
Gorbachev for an honest appraisal of past Soviet crimes, and Gor- 
bachev was reported as saying that "he was more than ready to coop- 
erate." 114 

In the meantime, the Soviet Foreign Ministry approved the request 
of Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser to Presi- 
dent Jimmy Carter, to visit Katyn when he visited the USSR in late Oc- 
tober. The U.S. ambassador to the USSR, Jack F. Matlock, Jr., accom- 
panied him when they visited the site on 1 November 1989, when 
several busloads of Poles, relatives of the victims, arrived to honor the 
deceased on the Catholic All Souls' Day. Matlock noted a modification 
to the inscription on the Katyn monument, which stated that the Pol- 
ish officers had been murdered by the Gestapo in 194 1. Matlock 
wrote, "Someone had covered 'Gestapo' and '1941' with hand-let- 
tered signs reading 'NKVD' and '1940.' The Soviet custodians had not 
removed the corrections from the monument." Brzezinski, who was 
interviewed by a Russian television crew, called on the Soviet govern- 
ment to admit the crime, saying this could form the basis for Soviet- 
Polish reconciliation. Matlock, asked for his opinion, echoed Brzezin- 
ski. These interviews, together with the opinions of some Polish 
visitors and the changed inscription on the monument, were broadcast 
on Soviet TV Channel 1 that evening. 115 

Opposition from the KGB head, Vladimir Kriuchkov, and the head 
of the Main Administration of Soviet Archives, Fyodor Vaganov, hin- 
dered progress in the Katyn investigation, but another factor now 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

came into play. Gorbachev's policy of glasnost led to the opening of 
some state archives to three Russian historians in 1989, and they 
found hitherto unknown documents on the Polish prisoners of war. 
On 23 February 1990, Valentin Falin wrote a note for Gorbachev stat- 
ing that the historians Yuri Zoria, Valentina Parsadanova, and Natalia 
Lebedeva had found archival materials on the Polish prisoners of war 
held in the three special camps. The prisoners had disappeared in 
April-May 1940, and a comparison of the lists of names of persons 
sent out of the camps at that time with the lists compiled by the Ger- 
mans in spring 1943 showed "numerous coincidences that appear to 
prove the relationship between the two. " Falin noted that these histo- 
rians would publish their articles in June -July. Therefore, he suggested 
that as the fiftieth anniversary of the Katyn massacre was drawing 
near, and the new Polish president, General Jaruzelski, was to visit 
Moscow at the time, the old denial could no longer be maintained. 
Falin believed the least damage would result from informing Jaruzelski 
that the investigation of archival materials allowed the conclusion that 
the extermination of the Polish officers at Katyn "was the work of the 
NKVD and personally of Beria and Merkulov" (doc. 116). Falin 's pro- 
posal was rejected, and the Politburo decided in late February that the 
three historians would not be allowed to publish their findings. 

Indeed, the historians listed in Falin 's note for Gorbachev of 22 Feb- 
ruary 1990 had a significant impact on the unraveling of the Katyn 
cover-up. Lebedeva writes of first learning that the 1 3 6th NKVD Con- 
voy Battalion escorted the Kozelsk prisoners to their deaths at Katyn 
from a letter by Alexei Lukin, a former commander of the battalion, 
which guarded Kozelsk camp in 1939-1940 and convoyed the prison- 
ers to their death sites in spring 1940. The letter, forwarded from the 
Ministry of Internal Affairs to Literaturnaia Gazeta [The Literary 
Newspaper], was brought to her attention by the journalist Vladimir 
Abarinov in late July 1988. Lukin denied that the battalion had had 
any part in the executions. Lebedeva asked for and received permis- 
sion from her superior in the Institute of General History, Soviet Acad- 
emy of Sciences, Professor Oleg A. Rzheshevsky, to do research on the 
battalion in the Central Archive of the Red Army. There she found the 
battalion order book with departure dates from Kozelsk to Smolensk 
and Gnezdovo in April-May 1940, dates that tallied with the execu- 
tion dates of the Kozelsk prisoners. She also found documents from the 
Main Administration of the NKVD Convoy Troops, and learned that 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


directives for them came from the UPV (Administration for Prisoner- 
of-War Affairs ), whose documents were in the Central Special Ar- 
chive. She asked Professor Vladimir Volkov, head of the Academy's In- 
stitute of Slavic and Balkan Studies, for authorization to work in that 
archive, but it was given instead to Valentina Parsadanova, a member 
of that institute who specialized in the history of Polish-Soviet rela- 
tions. Lebedeva also told Yuri Zoria about the UPV collection in the 
Central Special Archive, and Zoria, too, obtained access to it. 116 

Zoria, who had become involved in research on Katyn because of 
his quest to learn the truth about his father's death at Nuremberg, 
struggled to gain access to the UPV documents. Here he received help 
from Aleksandr Nikolaevich Yakovlev, who was not only in charge of 
international relations in the Central Committee, but also chaired the 
Presidential Commission for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Political 
Repression and was then a close ally of Gorbachev. In summer 1989, 
Zoria also had Falin's support to photocopy Katyn documents for the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the CC CPSU. He was given access to 
the Central Special Archive and wrote a detailed report with a short 
accompanying note, which he sent to Yakovlev. Yakovlev decided to 
send the photocopies to Valery Boldin, head of the Central Commit- 
tee's General Department, not by courier as Boldin requested, but 
through Gorbachev's Kantselaria [Chancellery] in order to make them 
"bureaucratic property," protected with red stamps and numbers. 
Yakovlev phoned Gorbachev and told him about the documents. It 
was Yakovlev's impression that Gorbachev phoned Jaruzelski, then 
president of Poland, to inform him of this news, and Jaruzelski later 
confirmed this personally to Yakovlev. Parsadanova also found docu- 
ments on Katyn in the Central Special Archive. Lebedeva obtained ac- 
cess there a little later and also worked in the Central Archive of the 
Red Army. 117 

The Truth Revealed, 1990-1992 

Two key factors finally impelled the Politburo to admit the truth about 
Katyn. One was Jaruzelski's ultimatum — which he says was sent offi- 
cially in the first months of 1990 — that he would not proceed with his 
planned presidential visit to Moscow in mid-April 1990 unless the So- 
viet government admitted the truth about Katyn. He received the reply 
that documents of the convoy troops had been found, so he decided 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

that the visit should go forward as planned. 118 This tallies with Yakov- 
lev's statement that Gorbachev informed Jaruzelski about the docu- 
ments being found. Jaruzelski must have known that an admission of 
the truth would be made in Moscow. 

The other key factor was the publication in Moskovskie Novosti 
[Moscow News], on 25 March 1990, of an interview with Lebedeva, 
together with some of the documents she had found, titled "The Katyn 
Tragedy." This interview — published without government permis- 
sion — seems to have given the decisive push to the Politburo to reverse 
its earlier decision not to allow the publication of articles and docu- 
ments on Katyn. Perhaps its members were also influenced by what oc- 
curred at this time in Ukraine: on 22 March the Kharkov Prosecutor's 
Office, on its own initiative, opened a criminal investigation of the 
mass graves of Soviet and Polish victims discovered in the city's wooded 
park. Whatever the case may be, Lebedeva writes that her interview 
and the documents she sent to the newspaper through her colleague at 
the Institute of General History, Sergei Stankevich — who also hap- 
pened to be a member of the Moscow City Council — had the effect of a 
bomb explosion. Fortunately, she left that day for London on a planned 
research trip. On her return, she learned that the Central Committee of 
the CPSU was furious with her. Falin had called Aleksandr Chubaryan, 
the director of her institute, and threatened that she would not be al- 
lowed access to any archive, or permitted to go abroad, or allowed to 
publish even one line. 119 He wanted Chubaryan to phone her in En- 
gland and forbid her to give any interviews, but Chubaryan said that if 
he did that, she would give interviews to everybody, but if he did not, 
she would not give any. Furthermore, she learned that the author of the 
interview with her, Gennadi Zhavoronkov, and the chief editor of 
Moskovskie Novosti, Yegor Yakovlev, almost lost their jobs. The day 
after her return, however, the whole situation changed. 

On 13 April 1990, the fiftieth anniversary of the official German ra- 
dio communique on the Katyn graves, President Jaruzelski was in 
Moscow on a state visit. That day, at a reception in the Polish Embassy, 
Gorbachev handed Jaruzelski the NKVD dispatch lists for the prison- 
ers who were executed in spring 1940. 120 On the same day, the Soviet 
news agency TASS stated that all but 394 of the approximately 15,000 
prisoners from the Kozelsk, Ostashkov, and Starobelsk camps had 
been handed over to the NKVD Administrations in Smolensk, Voro- 
shilovgrad (now Luhansk), and Kalinin (now Tver) Oblasts and did 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


not appear again in NKVD records. Beria and Merkulov were named 
as personally responsible for the crime in Katyn Forest, described as 
one of the most heinous Stalinist crimes, for which the Soviet side ex- 
pressed its deep regrets. The communique also said that copies of the 
documents that had been found had been given to the Polish side and 
that the search for archival materials continued (doc. 117). 

Indeed, many documents were still missing — in particular, the deci- 
sion to shoot the Polish prisoners. In early November 1990, Gorba- 
chev ordered the Office of the Soviet Prosecutor General to speed up 
the investigation into the fate of Polish officers held in the three special 
camps. He also requested that archival materials be found proving that 
the Soviet Union had suffered losses in bilateral relations with Poland 
(doc. 118), probably to counter possible compensation claims by the 
victims' families. Whatever Gorbachev intended, Soviet Prosecutor 
General Nikolai Trubin reported to him in May 199 1 that in the 
course of the Katyn investigation, lists of prisoners sent to the NKVD 
Administrations in Smolensk, Kharkov, and Kalinin had been found 
after a search in the archives. (It seems that these were the lists handed 
by Gorbachev to Jaruzelski on 13 April 1990.) Furthermore, NKVD 
workers involved in the crime who were still living had been identified 
and questioned, including the head of the UPV, Soprunenko; the head 
of the NKVD Kalinin/Tver region, Tokarev; and certain investigators 
who had interrogated Polish prisoners, as well as Soviet citizens. Fi- 
nally, eyewitnesses were found in various parts of the country who 
made depositions regarding the tragic fate of the Polish military. Tru- 
bin wrote that evidence gathered thus far allowed the conclusion that 
the Polish prisoners of war could have been shot in the NKVD admin- 
istrative regions of Smolensk, Kharkov, and Kalinin in April-May 
1940 on the basis of a decision by the Osoboe Soveshchanie [OSO — 
NKVD Special Board] and that they were buried in Katyn Forest, in the 
Mednoe district, 3 2 kilometers from Tver, and in the sixth quadrant of 
the wooded park in Kharkov. Nevertheless, the investigation files of the 
executed prisoners and the protocols of the NKVD Special Board had 
not been found, although it was clear from witness depositions that 
there was a decision of the Central Committee signed by Stalin on the 
"liquidation" of the prisoners held in the Kozelsk, Ostashkov, and 
Starobelsk camps by the oblast NKVD Administrations. Trubin asked 
Gorbachev to instruct the Central Committee's General Department to 
look through its documents and send Katyn-related copies to his office. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

He concluded by saying that his office had agreed to the Polish request 
for exhumations to be conducted with the participation of Polish ex- 
perts at the burial sites. Indeed, exhumations began in summer 199 1. 121 

It was in late December 199 1 that the "smoking gun" document on 
Katyn was first seen by Aleksandr Yakovlev, who had been looking for 
it for some time. As he tells it, he was present on 23 December 199 1, 
when Gorbachev handed over power to Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin. 
Along with other very important papers, Gorbachev handed Yeltsin an 
envelope containing some documents, saying it was necessary to take 
counsel on how to act on them. He said, "I'm afraid they can lead to 
international complications. However, it is up to you to decide." 
Yeltsin read the documents and agreed that the matter would have to 
be seriously considered. Yakovlev was shocked — these were secret 
documents on Katyn, evidence of the crimes of the Stalinist regime. He 
was all the more shocked because Gorbachev spoke with striking 
calmness, as if Yakovlev had not asked him repeatedly to instruct the 
Presidential Archive to look for them. He looked at Gorbachev but did 
not see any sign of embarrassment. Yakovlev went into more detail in 
an interview he granted to the Washington Post correspondent Mi- 
chael Dobbs in July 1993. He then said that Gorbachev had asked him 
to witness the handing over of top secret documents to Yeltsin. In one 
of the sealed envelopes they found the original Russian text of the Se- 
cret Protocol to the German-Soviet Non- Aggression Pact of 23 August 
1939 (the existence of a verified copy had been revealed to the public, 
and condemned, on 25 December 1989), and in another envelope they 
found the Politburo decision of 5 March 1940 to shoot the Polish pris- 
oners of war. Yakovlev had been asking for these documents for some 
time, but was told they could not be found. 122 

Gorbachev claims in his memoirs that his calm demeanor was due to 
the fact that these documents were not new to him on the eve of his 
meeting with Yeltsin in December 199 1. The director of his staff, Grig- 
ory Revenko, had brought him a file "from a special archive" contain- 
ing Beria's memorandum of 5 March 1940 on shooting the Polish pris- 
oners. Gorbachev wrote, "It took my breath away to read this hellish 
paper." 123 It is clear, however, that he had seen it before. Valery Bol- 
din — who joined in the failed attempt to overthrow Gorbachev in Au- 
gust 199 1 that brought Yeltsin to power — wrote in his memoirs that in 
March 1989, Gorbachev asked him to find documents on Katyn. Bol- 
din brought him two sealed envelopes. Gorbachev opened them, looked 
quickly at the documents, resealed the envelopes, and said, "One con- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


cerns the real circumstances of the shooting of the Poles at Katyn; the 
other contains the conclusions of the commission which studied the 
matter after the liberation of the Smolensk region, still during the war." 
He told Boldin not to show them to anyone without his knowledge, 
saying, "This is a hanging matter." 124 Gorbachev wrote that he saw 
two files shown to him by Boldin on the eve of his visit to Poland (sum- 
mer 1989) and described them as "a random set of documents" meant 
to confirm the Burdenko Commission conclusions. According to the 
historian Dmitri Volkogonov, the file record shows that Boldin opened 
the file with the decision to shoot the Polish prisoners on 18 April 
1989, so he probably also reported the contents to Gorbachev at that 
time. 125 This was a little less than a month after the Shevardnadze, 
Falin, and Kriuchkov memorandum to the Central Committee advis- 
ing admission of what really happened at Katyn (doc. 113). 

Whenever Gorbachev was told, we know that Yeltsin learned of the 
5 March 1940 Politburo document at the end of December 199 1. He 
proceeded slowly. At the time, he appointed Volkogonov as chairman 
of the Russian Supreme Soviet Commission for the transfer of Com- 
munist Party and KGB documents to the public domain. (The other 
members were Rudolf Pikhoia, the chief state archivist, and Professor 
A. Korotkov, director of the State Archives.) As Volkogonov tells it, to- 
ward the end of 1992, members of the commission found the original 
Russian texts of the secret German-Soviet agreements concluded in 
1939-1941. There was a 10 July 1987 note by A. Moshkov, the sec- 
tion head (presumably head of Section 6 of the Central Committee's 
General Department) who had reported the find to Valery Boldin, who 
ordered him "to keep this at hand in the section for the time being." 
The records on the Katyn envelope showing that it had been opened by 
Boldin in April 1989 also show that Yuri Andropov, a secretary of the 
CC CPSU and member of the Politburo — who succeeded Leonid 
Brezhnev as party leader in November 1982 — read the file on 15 April 
19 8 1. It seems clear that all Soviet Party leaders after Stalin reviewed 
the contents of the files, which were kept, along with other top secret 
documents, in sealed packets in Section 6 of the Central Committee's 
General Department. 126 While Volkogonov and his colleagues were 
reading the documents in the "special files," Polish historians were de- 
manding access to Russian archives. On 13 January 1992, President 
Lech Walesa wrote Yeltsin requesting the return of certain Polish state 
documents taken by the NKVD in September 1939 — in particular, 
documents relating to the Polish Army officers who were held in Ko- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

zelsk, Starobelsk, and Ostashkov. 127 The documents were not returned 
to Poland, but Polish historians obtained access to Russian archives a 
few months later. 

Ultimately, internal Russian politics led to the public disclosure of 
the Politburo decision of 5 March 1940 and other hitherto secret doc- 
uments concerning Katyn. When President Yeltsin faced strong oppo- 
sition from the Russian Communist Party, he issued a decree de-legal- 
izing it. Communist deputies in the Duma (Parliament) protested that 
the decree was unconstitutional, and the issue was placed before the 
Constitutional Court. Yeltsin then decided that one of the many docu- 
ments to be presented as evidence of the criminal nature of the Com- 
munist Party was the Politburo decision of 5 March 1940 to shoot the 
Polish prisoners of war. On 14 October 1992, chief Russian archivist 
Pikhoia presented it, in Yeltsin's name, to President Walesa in Warsaw, 
together with other hitherto secret Katyn documents from the special 
archives. On the same day, the Beria resolution approved by the Polit- 
buro on 5 March 1940 appeared in a news report by ITAR-TASS. The 
report summarized the Politburo decision to shoot the Polish prisoners 
of war. It included a map showing the location of Katyn Forest, pic- 
tures of Pikhoia pointing to the execution order and of German offi- 
cers standing over a mass grave at Katyn in 1943. It also included com- 
ments by the presidential spokesman, Vyacheslav Kostikov, attacking 
Gorbachev for concealing the document. Celestine Bohlen, the Ameri- 
can journalist reporting this event wrote: "Coming during a politically 
charged inquest into the legality of the banned Soviet Communist 
Party now being held before Russia's Constitutional Court, the release 
of the Katyn documents today became a weapon in the Yeltsin govern- 
ment's campaign to discredit the Party, and its last leader, Mr. Gor- 
bachev." Gorbachev, for his part, denied seeing the document before 
handing it over to Yeltsin on December 199 1, and expressed surprise 
that Yeltsin had not shown it to Walesa during the latter's visit to 
Moscow in May 199 z. He suggested that Yeltsin had kept it secret for 
future use at a politically advantageous moment. 128 

Ignoring the Russian political context, Walesa sent an emotional let- 
ter of thanks to Yeltsin on 1 5 October. Among other things, he wrote 
that he hoped "this page of dramatic history [would] never be repeated" 
(doc. 119). But Polish historians and public opinion pressed for more 
information, so on 28 October, Walesa wrote Yeltsin that he was send- 
ing to Moscow "a personal presidential mission" headed by Marian 
Wojciechowski, a historian and director of the Polish State Archives. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Walesa asked Yeltsin to help the mission gain access to all the Russian 
archives, including the Presidential Archive and the archives of the 
KGB. Copies of documents specified in the enclosures were to be given 
to the Poles. 129 Indeed, the Polish Military Archival Commission gained 
access to a large number of archival documents relating to Polish pris- 
oners of war held in the USSR in 1939-1941; photocopies were made 
and deposited in the Central Military Archives in Warsaw. 

The Katyn Question in Polish-Soviet Relations 
since 1992 

The publication of the infamous Politburo decision of 5 March 1940 
and the handing over of many other Russian documents were great 
steps toward dealing with the truth about Polish prisoners of war who 
ended up in Soviet hands during Word War II. However, Polish and 
Russian historians working in Russian archives could not find docu- 
mentation on the Troika protocols (death sentences) and their imple- 
mentation, nor documents showing where the prisoners jailed in Bela- 
rus and Ukraine had been shot and buried in spring 1940. German 
President Roman Herzog apologized to the Polish nation in August 
1994 for German crimes committed in Poland during World War II, 
and there was talk in Poland about the need for an official Russian 
apology for the Katyn massacre. There was also talk of compensation 
for the victims' families. 

President Yeltsin addressed all these questions in his letter to Presi- 
dent Walesa of 22 May 1995. He wrote that he understood the signif- 
icance of the fifty-fifth anniversary of the Katyn tragedy for Poles, but 
protested the Polish media's "escalation of demands presented to the 
Russian side, from making an apology to organizing a trial and the 
payment of compensation." He noted that the attitude of democratic 
Russia toward Katyn was well known and that about 9,000 victims of 
various nationalities were buried alongside Polish officers at Katyn. 
Russians thought that a memorial should be built there to all the inno- 
cent victims of totalitarianism and Nazism within the framework of 
which there should be a dignified memorial to the Polish officers. The 
Russian government would proclaim a competition for the best proj- 
ect; it had also instructed the authorities in Smolensk and Tver/ Kali- 
nin to place memorial signs in places designated for Polish cemeteries. 
Yeltsin informed Walesa that the documents he requested (on the 
Troika sentences and their implementation) were not in the Russian 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

archives. The investigation of the Katyn crime was proceeding, how- 
ever, and the Main Military Prosecutor's Office had received about 
two hundred document files and thirty-five volumes of documents on 
the Burdenko Commission. The materials regarding the deaths of Pol- 
ish officers in 1940 in the prisons of western Ukraine and western Belo- 
russia had been sent to the prosecutor generals of these now indepen- 
dent states. Finally, Yeltsin wrote, "I am fully convinced that the steps 
taken jointly by us will promote the finalization of the Katyn case in all 
its aspects and, by the same token, the further successful development 
of relations between our two peoples" (doc. 120). 

Indeed, a Polish-Russian agreement signed in 1994 — in which the 
Polish government undertook to maintain Russian war graves in Poland 
as well as the memorials to Polish victims in Russia — and a Polish 
agreement with Ukraine led to the laying of cornerstones for Polish 
military cemeteries, established alongside Russian and Ukrainian ceme- 
teries, in Katyn, Mednoe, and Kharkov in summer 1995. The three ceme- 
teries were officially opened in 2000: on 27 June in Kharkov, with the 
participation of Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and Ukrain- 
ian President Leonid Kuchma; on July 28 in Katyn, with the participation 
of Polish Premier Jerzy Buzek and Russian Deputy Premier Viktor B. 
Khristenko; and on September 2 in Mednoe, with the participation of 
Polish Premier Buzek and Russian Minister of Internal Affairs Vladimir 
B. Rushailo. In a speech at the unveiling of the Polish memorial in the 
Katyn Cemetery complex, Buzek mentioned the long-lasting lie about 
Katyn, the need to punish the guilty and pursue the Katyn crime investi- 
gation to the very end and thus to settle accounts with the past. He then 
said, "In this place I pay homage to all the people murdered and tortured 
to death at Katyn, as well as in the whole territory of the Soviet Union. 
Our pain is equal to yours" (doc. 121). Khristenko spoke of honoring the 
victims of "totalitarian repression" and said that the nations of the So- 
viet Union were the first victims of the "inhuman Stalinist machine," 
which took the lives of millions of Soviet citizens (doc. 122). Kwasniew- 
ski sent a message to the participants at the ceremonial opening of the 
cemetery at Mednoe, where Buzek and Rushailo made speeches. 130 

Obstacles to Reconciliation 

The opening of the Polish and Russian cemeteries at Kharkov, Katyn, 
and Mednoe did not put an end to the Katyn question. Although much 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


is known today about the fate of the Polish prisoners of war held in the 
three special NKVD camps in the USSR in 1939-1940, many ques- 
tions still remain unanswered. Documentation is lacking on Stalin's 
motive and timing for the decision of 5 March 1940 to have the pris- 
oners shot (doc. 47). No eyewitness accounts have surfaced on the ex- 
ecutions at Katyn itself. The executions and burial sites of those held in 
the NKVD prisons of western Ukraine and shot in other parts of 
Ukraine are unknown, as are the names and execution and burial sites 
of the victims who were held and shot in western Belorussia. The Rus- 
sian Memorial society announced in mid-June 2006 that it was cata- 
loguing 800 Stalinist execution sites and that Polish remains had been 
found in almost all of them. It is known that Polish military insignia 
and fragments of uniforms have been found over the years at Bykovnia 
[Polish: Bykownia], on the northeastern outskirts of Kiev, which is the 
burial ground of an estimated 100,000 Ukrainian victims of the Stalin- 
ist Terror. A team of Polish archeologists and forensic medicine experts 
began work there in summer 2006. Their first reports indicated that 
Poles on the Ukrainian Katyn list are likely buried there. However, 
identification will be very difficult, if not impossible, due to the Soviet 
practice of using backhoes or bulldozers to move or remove criminal 
evidence on burial sites. 131 

Meanwhile, the Soviet — later Russian — Katyn investigation, begun 
by the Main Military Prosecutor's Office in 1990, dragged on for 
years. In September 2004 this office unofficially made it known that it 
had discontinued the investigation and that no one would be charged 
with the crime. Finally, on 1 1 March 2005, the head of the office, Alek- 
sandr Savenkov, announced that the investigation was closed and no 
one would be condemned because all members of the wartime Polit- 
buro were dead. He concluded there was no evidence that genocide 
had been committed against the Polish nation. This statement caused 
outrage in Poland. In February 2006 the Russian military prosecutor 
general rejected a request for rehabilitation, submitted years ago by 
the widow of an officer shot at Katyn, on the grounds that documen- 
tation was lacking to show that the officer had been sentenced to death 
for political reasons. Thus, Savenkov ignored the publication of the 
Politburo decision of 5 March 1940 and the well known fact that the 
prisoner-of-war files had been ordered destroyed in 1959 so they could 
not be produced as documents for rehabilitation. The Polish reaction 
was to support the opening of a Polish Katyn investigation. 132 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

To understand Russian decisions and rationales in connection with 
Katyn, it is necessary to take a brief look at the course of the Russian 
Katyn investigation. On 13 June 1994, after three years of intensive 
work, Anatoly Yablokov, then the Russian military prosecutor in charge 
of the Katyn case, filed a motion for a procedural decision on criminal 
case no. 159, Katyn, as a case under Russian criminal law. He pro- 
posed that Stalin and his close collaborators in the Politburo be judged 
guilty of the Katyn crime on the basis of Articles 6a and 6b of the Char- 
ter of the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, that is, guilty 
of crimes against peace and humanity, war crimes, and the crime of 
genocide aimed at Polish citizens. Furthermore, he suggested that the 
members of the Special Soviet Commission headed by Burdenko, as 
well as those who gave falsified testimony to the IMT and those who 
concealed the Katyn crime later, were guilty under certain articles of the 
Soviet Russian Criminal Code in its 1926 version (abuse of power). Fi- 
nally, he argued that those who had carried out illegal orders (murder) 
were subject to the death penalty according to the Criminal Code of the 
Russian Federal Republic, and that the crime itself was not subject to 
the statute of limitations. He stated that since the Katyn crime could not 
receive adequate legal evaluation within the framework of the existing 
Russian law, which did not recognize the crime of genocide or crimes 
against humanity, the question of providing the necessary legislation 
could be decided only by the highest legal organ of the state, by which 
he meant the Duma. Here it should be noted that Yablokov's motion 
followed the suggestions of the Report of the Russian Commission of 
Experts on the Katyn Case of 2 August 1993. The commission included 
Inessa Yazhborovskaia, Valentina Parsadanova, and Yuri Zoria. 133 

Yablokov's motion was rejected by the Main Military Prosecutor's 
Office, but the investigation continued, mainly because of Polish Deputy 
Prosecutor General Stefan Sniezko, who argued that the Prosecutors' 
Offices of Belarus and Ukraine should be asked to search their archives 
for Katyn documents. Hopes were raised by President Yeltsin's visit to 
Warsaw in August 1993, when he laid a wreath at the Katyn memorial 
and asked for forgiveness, but this was seen as a personal gesture. 
Yazhborovoskaia and Parsadanova continued to press for a verdict 
based on the criteria proposed by the Russian Commission of Experts 
and by Prosecutor Yablokov. 134 Katyn, however, soon became an un- 
popular issue in Russia, so even Yeltsin was unwilling to risk losing 
support over it. As mentioned earlier, in his letter to President Walesa 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


of 22 May 1995, Yeltsin objected to unofficial Polish demands for a 
Russian apology and compensation for victims' families (doc. 120). 
His appointment of Vladimir Putin as his successor on 3 1 December 
1999 seemed to augur a new beginning, but this failed to materialize. 
Neither the change in Russian leadership nor the opening of Polish 
war cemeteries at Katyn, Kharkov, and Mednoe in summer 2000 pro- 
duced any progress toward meeting the demands of the Polish Katyn 
Families Association for a Russian admission of genocide, an apology, 
and compensation. Hopes were raised again in connection with President 
Putin's visit to Warsaw in mid-January 2002. He rejected a comparison 
of Stalinist repressions with Nazi German genocide, but mentioned the 
possibility of broadening the Russian law concerning rehabilitation 
of Russian victims of political repression to make it applicable to Pol- 
ish citizens as well. 135 A joint Polish-Russian group was formed to 
study "difficult questions." As mentioned, the Russian Main Military 
Prosecutor's Office declared its Katyn investigation closed in March 

The key obstacles to a Russian verdict along the lines proposed by 
Yablokov and the Russian Commission of Experts, and also to satisfy- 
ing the demands of the Katyn Families Association in Poland, are legal 
and psychological. The concept of genocide was absent from Russian 
criminal legislation until it became enshrined in Article 3 57 of the new 
criminal code that came into force in January 1997. Article 357 also 
qualified as criminal the cruel treatment of prisoners of war or civil- 
ians, while Article 358 condemned deportations of civilian popula- 
tions. Another article, 353, condemned as criminal the planning, 
preparation, unleashing, or conduct of aggressive war. These articles 
brought the new Russian criminal code in line with international law. 
Article 10 of the new code, however, stated that punishment for these 
crimes did not apply to crimes committed before the code entered into 
force. Thus, Article 10 of the new code made it legally impossible for 
the Russian authorities to prosecute the criminals responsible for the 
massacres at Katyn, Kalinin, and Kharkov in 1940. At the same time, 
the new code followed Russian legal tradition in not allowing the pros- 
ecution and judgment of criminals no longer living. Thus, both the 
new Russian code and Russian legal tradition are contrary to Article 6 
of the IMT Charter, as well as Article 2 of the 1968 international con- 
vention on the inapplicability of the statute of limitations to war 
crimes and crimes against humanity. 136 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

The Russian legal stance is incompatible with the Polish legal stance. 
The Polish government, Polish historians, and, of course, the Katyn 
Families Association view the Katyn massacres as genocide. The latter 
is defined in Article II of the Genocide Convention of 1948 as "actions 
directed towards the full or partial destruction of a national, ethnic, 
racial, or religious group" (see the introduction to Part II). The Polish 
prisoners of war clearly constituted a national group. However, the 
justification given in Beria's resolution to shoot them, adopted by the 
Politburo on 5 March 1940, was that they were "counterrevolutionar- 
ies," "spies," and "implacable, irremediable enemies of Soviet power" 
(doc. 47). Since any action or intent of action directed against the So- 
viet state was "counterrevolutionary," the Poles were criminals ac- 
cording to various paragraphs of Article 58 of the Soviet Criminal 
Code (doc. 38), even though the Soviet criminal code was not invoked 
by Beria and even though the sentencing of the Polish prisoners of war 
by the Troika did not conform with Soviet legal procedures of the time. 
Thus it can be argued that the massacres constituted murder on politi- 
cal rather than ethnic or national grounds. 

The psychological obstacle to a Russian condemnation of the deci- 
sion makers and implementers of the Politburo decision of 5 March 
1940, as well as the falsifiers of the Katyn case that followed, may well 
be rooted in the difficulty most Russians find in facing the terrible 
truth about the Stalin years. 137 Indeed, people of all nationalities find 
it difficult to acknowledge the dark pages of their history, and this is es- 
pecially difficult for Russians because the "Great Fatherland War" is a 
glorious memory, and most view Stalin as a great war leader who made 
the USSR a world power. This ranks Stalin alongside Peter the Great, 
Catherine the Great, and especially Alexander I, who defeated Napo- 
leon. Russians also remember that millions of Soviet soldiers and citi- 
zens died in World War II and that the Red Army liberated Eastern Eu- 
rope from German occupation or domination. The fact that this 
liberation also meant the imposition of communism and Soviet control 
over most of the region generally goes unmentioned. It is not surpris- 
ing that for most Russians these glorious memories overshadow Sta- 
lin's crimes, including the murder in one way or another of at least 
twenty million Soviet citizens, along with many citizens of other coun- 
tries, particularly those bordering the USSR in 1939-1940. 

Indeed, some Russians even claim that the Burdenko Commission 
report (doc. 106) is the final word on Katyn. They see charges of Rus- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


sian guilt as mean, anti-Russian lies and claim that the published docu- 
ments are fakes. Public demonstrations sometimes take place in sup- 
port of this view. 138 While most Russians who are knowledgeable 
about Katyn do not go this far, some question Soviet guilt for Katyn by 
pointing out discrepancies between the names of the Katyn victims 
published by the Germans and those on the NKVD lists that Gorbachev 
gave to Jaruzelski in April 1990. But Aleksei Pamiatnykh of the Russian 
Memorial society has shown that the discrepancies are due to spelling 
or transliteration errors and has reconciled all but some thirty names on 
both lists. Other Russians accuse the Poles of having carried out a mas- 
sacre of Soviet prisoners of war captured in the Polish-Soviet War of 
19 19 -1920 and view this as the Polish equivalent of Katyn. 139 A recent 
example of this view was expressed by the Russian historian Mikhail 
Meltiukhov, who claims that 60,000 Russian prisoners of war perished 
in Polish prisoner-of-war camps in 1920. He argues that just as the Rus- 
sian leadership accepted responsibility for the massacre of Polish offi- 
cers in the USSR (doc. 117), so the Polish leadership should accept re- 
sponsibility for the deaths of Soviet prisoners of war in Poland twenty 
years earlier. 140 This argument seems reasonable, but one must con- 
sider the number and circumstances of these deaths. According to Pol- 
ish estimates, about 113,000 Soviet prisoners of war were held in the 
Polish camps in fall 1920, and the deaths of some 47,000 of them can- 
not be treated as the equivalent of the Katyn massacres of 1940. The 
Soviet prisoners died not as the result of a documented order by Polish 
authorities, nor as the result of a documented intent to murder them, 
but because of inadequate nourishment, lack of heating in winter, bad 
sanitary conditions, and disease. Contemporary reports made to Soviet 
authorities on conditions in the prisoner-of-war camps in Poland speak 
of neglect, but they do not mention any suspicion of murderous Polish 
intent toward the Soviet prisoners. Conditions in Polish prisoner-of- 
war camps were no worse than those endured by Poles in Soviet pris- 
oner-of-war camps, of whom some 50 percent failed to return home. 
Russian and Polish historians now estimate that 16,000-20,000 Soviet 
prisoners died in Polish camps. 141 

Given the legal and psychological factors affecting the Russian view 
of Katyn, as well as Russian legal tradition, it is not surprising that the 
Russian investigation ended without a condemnation of Stalin, the 
members of his Politburo, the men who carried out the order of death 
by shooting, and those who produced and maintained the lie of Ger- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

man guilt for almost half a century. This is as unacceptable to most 
Poles as the Polish claim that the 1940 massacres were a crime of geno- 
cide is unacceptable to most Russians. A Polish investigation, an- 
nounced on 30 November 2004 by the Instytut Pami^ci Narodowej 
[IPN — Institute of National Remembrance], undertaken under pres- 
sure from the Katyn Families Association, is unlikely to bring closure, 
especially since the Russian Main Military Prosecutor's Office denies 
the IPN access to most of the documents gathered in its own lengthy in- 
vestigation. Polish President Lech Kaczyhski stated in July 2006, "It is 
not the role of [the] prime minister to lead fights over the past. I want 
my government and myself to form a group that works for the future. 
We leave these fights to historians for the time being." It seems, how- 
ever, that a Polish-Russian reconciliation over the Katyn massacres is 
still a long way off. 142 

Selected survivors from the three special camps were sent first to 
Yukhnov camp, just north of Kozelsk, and in late June 1940 to Gria- 
zovets camp, just south of the city of Vologda. (See map 4.) They would 
be joined later by Polish POWs interned in Lithuania and Latvia in 1939 
and transferred to NKVD camps in the USSR during summer 1940. 

• 85 • 

Soprunenko's Report on the Number of Polish POWs Dispatched to Yukhnov 
Camp from the Special Camps and the Grounds on Which They Were Sent There* 
After 25 May 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 

Information on the Prisoners of War Detained 
at Yukhnov NKVD Camp 

Total sent to Yukhnov camp 

a/ On the instruction of the GUGB 5th Department 
b/ At the request of the German Embassy 
c/ At the request of the Lithuanian mission 
d/ Germans 

137 people 

* Handwritten note on document: "Com. Khudiakova: Preserve. M[akliarsky]." 

395 people 1 ' 

47 people 144 
47 people 145 
19 people 
24 people 146 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


e/ On instruction from USSR Deputy People's Commissar 

of Internal Affairs Comrade Merkulov 91 people 1 

f/ Others 148 167 people 


[Total] 395 people 

Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
GB [State Security] Captain 
P. Soprunenko 

The Griazovets camp held surviving Polish military and police men 
from Kozelsk, Starobelsk, and Ostashkov camps, most of whom had 
been transferred earlier to Yukhnov. On 14 June 1940, as ordered by 
Merkulov, 384 POWs from Yukhnov were loaded into five railway 
cars at Babynino Station and sent by train no. 113 6 on to Griazovets 
camp, south of Vologda; nine sick men arrived there later. 

n the Number, Ranks, and Professions of Polish POWs i 
as of 1 July 1940 
1 July 1940, Moscow 

Top Secret 

Report on the Number of Prisoners of War Held 
in NKVD Griazovets Camp 

As of 1 July 1940 
Total held in camp 394 people 149 

Of these: 

1. Generals 

2. Colonels 


3. Police and gendarmerie colonels 


4. Lt. colonels 


5. Majors 


6. Police and gendarmerie majors 


7. Captains 


8. Police and gendarmerie captains 


9. Lieutenants 


:o. 2nd lieutenants 


1. Police and gendarmerie 2nd lieutenam 

:s 2 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

12. Ensigns 

13. Cadets 

i 4 ' PaUcTand endarmerie ser eants 


16 Coi- C orals ^ armene sergean s 

1 Police and endarmerie cor orals 

18 Police and Endarmerie kncTcor orals 


1 Police ran^and fife 161 " 16 C ° rP ° ra S 


20 PktoonTaders 1 6 

21 Prison uards 

22 RanlTancffile soldiers 

23' General defense instructors 

24. [Military] settlers 

25. Yunaks 150 


26. Civil servants 

27. Train dispatchers 

28. Millers 


29. Policemen's sons 

30. Schoolboys and students 

3 2 Serviceman's son 

32 " A^onorrdsts 
33 ' g^ onomls s 

35 Engineers 

36. Those who were in jail 


37. Those who illegally crossed the frontier 

38. No profession 

39. Timber businessman 

40. Not serving in the army 

GB Captain 

Head Department of Administration 
Sr. Security Lieutenant 

The cover-up began in mid-March 1940, when prisoners in the three 
special camps were forbidden to write or receive letters. It continued 
with orders to destroy the correspondence and personal files of the 
prisoners who had been held in Starobelsk (docs. 87, 88). Neverthe- 
less, thousands of prisoner records were preserved until 1959 (see doc. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

■ 87 • 

n the Destruction of POW Corresponder 
23 July 1940, Starobelsk 


On 23 July 1940, we, the signatories [listed] below, the political con- 
troller of the NKVD Camp's Special Section, Klok; the head of the NKVD 
camp's URO [Reception, Records, and Barracks Assignment Section], 
Sysoev; and the secretary of the NKVD Camp Command, Kuriachy, have 
on this day, on the basis of UPV NKVD Instruction no. 25/5699, carried 
out the destruction of the incoming correspondence addressed to the 
POWs who left the camp: 151 

1 . Registered letters 422 pieces 

2. Ordinary letters 562 " 

3 . Registered postcards 148 " 

4. Ordinary postcards 3,102 " 

5 . Telegrams 79 " 

All of the [correspondence] listed above was destroyed by burning, 
about which the present protocol was drawn up. 

Political Controller of the NKVD Camp Special Section 

Head of the NKVD Camp 2nd Section 

Secretary of the NKVD Camp Command 

In September 1940, Soprunenko repeated the instructions to burn 
the remaining POW records in Starobelsk camp and gave directives for 
preserving other records. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

■ 88 • 

Soprunenko's Instruction to the Head of Starobelsk Camp 
and the Head of the Camp OO to Destroy POW Files 
10 September 1940, Moscow 

No. 25/9050 
Top Secret 

To the Head of the Starobelsk NKVD Camp 
GB Captain Com. Berezhkov 

To the Head of the Camp Special Section 
GB Sergeant Com. Gaididei 

To No. 10/8 of 3 September 1940 152 

The Special Section evidence files of the POWs who left the camp (ex- 
cept those who left for Yukhnov), the data card file, also the alphabetical 
files with materials on the POWs, should be destroyed by burning. 

All the materials on the POWs who left for Yukhnov camp should be 
sent immediately to the NKVD UPV. 

Alphabetical files with materials on the service of the military unit 
guarding the camp are to be delivered to the archive of the 1st Special De- 
partment of UNKVD for Kharkov Oblast. 

Alphabetical files with materials on the free, hired contingent, 153 and 
also on the population surrounding the camp, are active [materials] and 
are subject to remaining in the camp's Special Section. 

A special commission should be organized for the destruction of the ma- 
terials, made up of the workers of the Special Section, which [commission] 
is obligated to look carefully through the documents to be destroyed [for 
all] materials which represent operational interest. These materials are in 
no circumstances subject to destruction. They should also be sent to the 
Administration [UPV]. 

Appropriate protocols are to be written up on the destruction, as well as 
the transfer of materials to the archive, together with detailed descriptions 
of the [materials] destroyed. 

Report on the implementation. 154 

GB Captain (Soprunenko) 

Head of the 2nd Department of the USSR NKVD UPV 
GB Sr. Lieutenant (Makliarsky) 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

The vast majority of the Polish military, police, and civilian prison- 
ers selected for survival proved to be just as patriotic, resistant to com- 
munist propaganda, and insistent on their rights as their murdered 
comrades had been. The leader of the "patriotic" group in Griazovets 
camp was the retired but feisty General Jerzy Wolkowicki. The threat 
of a hunger strike, combined with a rising fear of Germany and the 
thought that Polish officers might be needed in the future, probably 
moved the Soviet leadership to allow the Polish POWs held in Gria- 
zovets camp, as well as those held in Kozelsk 2, Suzdal, Rovno, 
Yukhnov, and the Northern Railway camps, one letter a month by way 
of a post office box in Moscow. Thus, correspondence broken off in 
mid-March 1940 was resumed by the survivors in October. 

Special Report to Beria by the UNKVD Head for the Vologda Regio 
Pyotr Kondakov, on the Counterrevolutionary Activities 
of Some Polish POWs in Griazovets Camp 
29 September 1940, Vologda* 

No. 7037 
Top Secret 

To: USSR People's Commissar for Internal Affairs 
GB Commissar 1st Rank Comrade Beria 

Special Report on the Counterrevolutionary Activities of a Group 
of Prisoners of War in the Griazovets NKVD Camp 

The prisoner-of-war contingent in Griazovets NKVD camp consists of 
384 officers and NCOs of the former Polish Army, officers and rank and 
file of the former Polish police, as well as a significant number of civilians, 
among whom we have discovered landowners, military settlers, and 
agents of the former Polish and Lithuanian intelligence organs. 

Recently, the UNKVD has received several reports from the camp which 
make it clear that a group of POWs made up of former higher and senior 

* In the margin: "Taken for control by the Secretariat of the NKVD USSR." In the lower left 
corner, with the incoming registration number: "Secretariat of the NKVD USSR. 1st Depart- 
ment. No. 75. 29 September 1940." In the top right corner: "Prisoner-of-War Administra- 
tion, 24 December 1940. Incoming No. 20970." 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

commanders of the Polish Army, including General Wolkowicki, Colonel 
Grabicki, Majors Domoh and Lis, military priest Tyczkowski, Naval Cap- 
tain Ginsbert, and Police Commissioner Bober, are conducting active 
counterrevolutionary [c-r] activity among the POWs aimed at individuals 
loyally inclined toward the Soviet Union. 155 

The individuals named above are conducting active c-r agitation among 
the POWs, propagandizing the idea of restoring a "greater Poland from 
sea to sea," 156 and creating nationalistic groups from [among] the young 
officer cadets and 2nd lieutenants, based on the principle of [uniting] re- 
gional countrymen, which they are developing in a nationalist-chauvinist 
spirit by means of illegal lectures and discussions. 

This anti-Soviet influence on the officer cadets and 2nd lieutenants has 
in several instances provoked open c-r manifestations on their part. 

On 20 August of this year, a group of nationalistically minded officer 
cadets beat up a group of Jewish POWs who had expressed loyal views 
with respect to the Soviet Union. 157 

The c-r core among the POWs under the leadership of General Wolko- 
wicki has placed itself in active opposition to the mass political work be- 
ing conducted in the camp. During the period when lectures on the his- 
tory of the VKP(b) 158 are being conducted at the behest of a significant 
portion of POWs, they are conducting parallel lectures and discussions of 
a nationalist-chauvinist character and organizing the singing of c-r nation- 
alist songs. 

They are also poisoning [the minds of] individual officer cadets and 2nd 
lieutenants against the POWs who are participating in mass political 
work. They threaten the latter that they will settle with them in the "future 
Poland" or upon their return to German territory. It has been established 
that similar threats against several POWs have been made by Police Com- 
missioner Bober, who keeps a so-called blacklist of POWs who are loyally 
inclined toward the Soviet Union. 

Out of fear of reprisal, several POWs have stopped attending the lec- 
tures on the history of the VKP(b) that are being conducted in the camp. 

On 5 September of this year, the UNKVD received a report from the 
camp that preparations are under way among the POWs to declare a mass 
hunger strike as a sign of protest against the lack of correspondence with 
families and relatives. 

Through operational and prophylactic measures taken on site, support 
for the hunger strike among the POWs has been dissipated for the time be- 

As has been established, POWs Wofkowicki, Domoh, Lis, and Bober 
were waiting for a reply to Wolkowicki's statement, addressed to Nar- 
komvnudel [People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs], in which he 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


warned of possible recidivism among the POWs on the grounds of the lack 
of correspondence with relatives. Wolkowicki's statement was sent to the 
UPV. 159 

In connection with the lack of reply to this statement, Wolkowicki, to- 
gether with Domoh, Lis, and Bober, who are connected to him through 
their c-r activity, began actively preparing for a mass hunger strike among 
the POWs, which according to the information that has been received, is 
supposed to be declared during the first few days of October of this year. 

Thus it has been established that between 18 and 23 September, 
Wolkowicki went around to all the POWs in the blocks trying to convince 
them of the necessity of going to the camp administration every day and 
raising the issue of correspondence and in this way applying pressure for a 
positive resolution of this issue. 

From the statement made on 23 September of this year by prisoner of 
war Wolkowicki, it is clear that the creation of a special committee to lead 
the hunger strike is being prepared. Its task, in addition to leading the 
hunger strike, will include forming groups to confiscate edible products 
from POWs and to destroy those products in order to achieve a universal 
hunger strike. 

Simultaneously, Wolkowicki stated that the hunger strike must continue 
until a positive reply to the issue of correspondence arrives. 

The camp administration has in a timely fashion informed the head of 
the USSR NKVD UPV GB Captain Comrade Soprunenko about the facts 
set forth here, but so far the camp has not received any specific instruc- 
tions on these matters. 160 

In order to curtail c-r activity among the POWs in the camp, I think it is 
necessary to remove from the camp the guiding c-r core in the persons of 
POWs General Wolkowicki, Colonel Grabicki, Majors Domoh and Lis, 
the priest Tyczkowski, Captain Ginsbert, and Police Commissioner Bober, 
about which I request your instructions. 161 

Head of the NKVD Administration for the Vologda Oblast 
GB Major Kondakov 

Beria's order of 26 October 1940 shows that it was customary to re- 
ward NKVD workers for carrying out "special tasks," in this case, the 
execution of the Polish POWs from the three special camps: Kozelsk, 
Ostashkov, and Starobelsk. Unlike the convoy troops, some of these 
men were especially trained to shoot prisoners in the back of the 
skull — the traditional NKVD method of execution — while others par- 
ticipated in support roles. It is ironic that just as these men were being 
rewarded for shooting the Polish officers and police, Beria and Merku- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

lov were interviewing selected survivors, along with some transferred 
to Kozelsk 2 and Yukhnov from internment in the Baltic States, to lead 
a Polish division in the Red Army (doc. 91). 

• 90 • 

Beria's Order on Rewards for NKVD Workers for "Clearing Out" 
the Prisons and the Three Special Camps 
26 October 1940, Moscow 

Order of the People's Commissar of Internal Affairs 
of the USSR for [the Year] 1940 
No. 001365 
26 October 1940 
"On Rewards for NKVD Workers" 

For the successful carrying out of special assignments, I order: 
the reward of the following workers from the USSR NKVD of the 
Kalinin, Smolensk, and Kharkov Oblast UNKVDs. 162 

One month's salary: 

GB Captain 

F. K. Ilin 

GB Senior Lieutenant 

1. 1. Gribov 

GB Senior Lieutenant 

A. I. Rubanov 

GB Senior Lieutenant 

T. F. Kupry 

GB Lieutenant 

V. M. Karavaev 

GB Major 

V. M. Blokhin 

GB Major 

A. Ye. Okunev 

GB Captain 

V. I. Shigalev 

GB Captain 

A. M. Kalinin 

GB Captain 

P. A. Yakovlev 

GB Senior Lieutenant 

1. 1. Antonov 

GB Senior Lieutenant 

1. 1. Feldman 

GB Senior Lieutenant 

1. 1. Shigalev 

GB Senior Lieutenant 

D. E. Semenikhin 

GB Lieutenant 

A. D. Dmitriev 

GB Lieutenant 

A. M. Yemelianov 

GB Senior Major 

[N. I.] Sinegubov 

GB Major 

[K. S.] Zilberman 

GB Captain 

I. D. Bezrukov 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


GB Captain 

GB Captain 

Brigadier Commander 



GB Lieutenant 

GB Lieutenant 

GB Lieutenant 

GB Lieutenant 

GB 2nd Lieutenant 

GB 2nd Lieutenant 

GB 2nd Lieutenant 

GB 2nd Lieutenant 

GB 2nd Lieutenant 

GB Sergeant 

GB Sergeant 

GB Sergeant 

GB Sergeant 

GB Sergeant 

GB Sergeant 

[No rank given] 

800 rubles: 
[No rank given] 

P. P. Tikhonov 

V. P. Zubtsov 

[M. S.] Krivenko 

[A. A.] Rybakov 

[I. A.] Stepanov 

V. P. Pavlov 

T. F. Kachin 

M. A. Kozokhotsky 

A. M. Shevelev 

M. I. Luginin 

M. D. Goriachev 

N. A. Kiselev 

I. S. Barinov 

A. N. Ofitserov 

1. 1. Novoselov 

K. Ye. Blank 

R. S. Getselevich 

N. A. Zubov 

S. S. Kuznetsov 

I. A. Stekholshchikov 

A. I. Tsukanov 

A. A. Karmanov 

I. P. Smykalov 

F. I. Doronin 

N. A. Gvozdovsky 

1. 1. Stelmakh 
I. Ye. Tikunov 
T. P. Yakushev 
A. G. Zaitsev 
N. M. Seniushkin 
M. A. Zhila 
L. A. Tivanenko 
P. M. Kartsev 
A. I. Razorenov 
T. Kh. Babaian 
I. D. Frolenkov 
M. M. Solovyev 
N. K. Kostiuchenko 
M. P. Grigorev 
V. A. Belogorlov 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

V. K. Sorokin 

V. M. Sytin 

M. F. Ignatev 

N. I. Sukharev 

A. S. Aleksandrov 

V. A. Osipov 

V. Ye. Skorodumov 

N. T. Zhuravlev 

1. 1. Krasnovidov 

P. A. Bogdanov 

N. A. Galitsyn 

A. T. Melnik 

N. V. Melnik 

I. M. Chuzhaikin 

M. M. Zhuravlev 

A. Ye. Zakharov 

G. N. Tarasov 

N. P. Zinoviev 

T. K. Gabrilenkov 

A. B. Siurin 

N. A. Mishchenkov 

A. M. Fadeev 

P. M. Zorin 

A. M. Yakovlev 

P. M. Baranov 

D. I. Orlov 

N. I. Golovinkin 

V. I. Zhiltsov 

A. V. Yegorov 

N. V. Loginov 

M. V. Tsikulin 

M. D. Lebedev 

I. P. Mokridin 

G. K. Levanchiukov 

V. G. Ivanov 

A. Ye. Marusev 

M. A. Baranov 

1. 1. Belov 

V. K. Chekulaev 

S. M. Fedoryshko 

I. A. Gumotudinov 

G. I. Timoshenko 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Ye. A. Vigovsky 
A. G. Deviatilov 
M. V. Syromiatnikov 
T. S. Shchepko 
T. D. Burda 
S. M. Lazarenko 
P. G. Prudnikov 

F. I. Doroginin 
N. F. Bogdanov 

V. K. Kostiuchenko 

G. I. Makarenkov 
1. 1. Komarovsky 
V. A. Solovyev 

V. P. Moiseenkov 
I. B. Medvedev 
G. F Karpov 
I. M. Ivanov 
D. F. Tikhonov 
A. A. Moiseenkov 
G. P. Ziuskin 
A. S. Kovalev 
I. M. Silchenkov 
M. Ye. Davydov 
A. M. Tochenov 

People's Commissar of Internal Affairs USSR 
L. Beria 

By late October 1940, the Soviet leadership apparently began to en- 
visage the possibility of a war with Germany. Selected Polish officers 
were brought to Moscow and asked if they would be willing to fight 
the Germans and organize a Polish division in the Red Army from 
among the POWs in the USSR. 

About the same time, a group of Polish communists and leftists led 
by Wanda Wasilewska in Lviv celebrated the eighty-fifth anniversary 
of the death of the Polish national poet Adam Mickiewicz (1798- 
1855), now hailed as a proto-socialist. The celebration was given wide 
coverage in the Soviet media. Also, a few exiled Polish communists 
were sent to the Comintern Party School at Pushkino, near Moscow, 
for political education. Stalin evidently decided that some Poles could 
be useful to him. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

• 91 • 

Note from Beria to Stalin on the Possible Organization of Military Units 
with Polish and Czech Prisoners of War 163 
2 November 1940, Moscow 

From Com. Beria 

Top Secret 
TsK VKP (b) 

To Comrade Stalin 

In implementing your directives regarding Polish and Czech POWs, we 
have done the following: 

1. In the camps of the NKVD USSR there are at this time 18,197 Polish 
POWs. Of this number there are 2 generals, 164 39 colonels and It. colo- 
nels, 222 majors and captains, 691 lieutenants and 2nd lieutenants, 4,022 
noncommissioned officers, and 13,321 rank and file. 

Out of 18,297 persons, 11,998 are inhabitants of territories taken by 
Germany. 165 

The POWs interned in Lithuania and Latvia and deported to NKVD 
USSR camps are estimated to number 3,303 persons. 166 

The vast majority of the remaining POWs, except for leading cadres, are 
employed in the construction of a highway and railway line. 167 

Besides the above, 22 officers of the former Polish Army are in the in- 
ternal prison of the NKVD USSR, having been arrested by the organs of 
the NKVD USSR as participants of various anti-Soviet organizations 
active on the territories of the western regions of Ukraine and Belo- 

As a result of the filtration carried out by us (by way of familiarizing our- 
selves with the evidence and investigation files, as well as direct question- 
ing) a selection was made of 24 former Polish officers: 3 generals, 1 colonel, 
8 It. colonels, 6 majors and captains, 6 lieutenants and 2nd lieutenants. 

2. A series of conversations was conducted with all the selected ones, as 
a result of which the following was established: 

a) All of them have a very hostile attitude toward the Germans and be- 
lieve a military clash between the USSR and Germany is inevitable in the 
future, and express the wish to participate in the inevitable, in their view, 
Soviet-German war on the side of the Soviet Union. 

b ) Some of them express the conviction that the fate of Poland and its re- 
birth as a national state can be decided only by the Soviet Union, on which 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

they place their hopes. Others (mostly from among the Poles interned in 
Lithuania) still hope for the victory of the English, who, in their opinion, 
will help in the reestablishment of Poland. 

c) The majority consider themselves to be free of any obligations re- 
garding the so-called Sikorski government, [but] some state that they can 
participate in a war with Germany on the side of the USSR only if this will 
be sanctioned in one form or another by the Sikorski "government." 168 
The junior officers declare that they will act in accordance with orders re- 
ceived from any Polish general. 

3. Specifically, [we] should take into consideration the stands [taken by] 
individual persons: 

a) General Januszajtis declared that he can take upon himself the com- 
mand of Polish units if such will be organized on the territory of the Soviet 
Union to fight Germany, regardless of the Sikorski "government" direc- 
tives on this issue. However, he considers it appropriate that a special po- 
litical platform be outlined on the future fate of Poland. Simultaneously 
with this, as he put it, [there should be] "a softening of the climate" for 
Poles living in the western regions of Ukraine and Belorussia. 

b) General Boruta-Spiechowicz declared that he can take various steps 
only at the request of the Sikorski "government," which according to him 
represents the interests of the Polish nation. 

c) General Przezdziecki made a declaration analogous to that of Boruta- 
Spiechowicz. 169 

d) Several colonels and lieutenant colonels (Berling, Bukojemski, Gor- 
czyhski, Tyszyhski) declared that they are putting themselves completely 
at the disposal of Soviet authorities and that they will with great goodwill 
undertake the organization and command of any kind of military forma- 
tions [organized] from the numbers of Polish POWs designated to fight 
the Germans in the interest of establishing Poland as a national state. They 
see the future Poland as linked closely with the Soviet Union in one form 
or another. 

4. In order to detect the attitudes of the remaining mass of POWs held in 
NKVD camps, [we have] sent brigades of operational NKVD USSR work- 
ers [who were assigned] appropriate tasks. 

As a result of the work carried out, it has been established that the great 
majority of POWs can be undoubtedly utilized for organizing a Polish mil- 
itary unit. 

With this aim, we believe it appropriate to: 

While not rejecting the idea of utilizing as commanders of the Polish 
military unit Generals Januszajtis and Boruta-Spiechowicz, whose names 
could attract certain circles of former Polish military men, entrust the or- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

ganization of a division at first to the above-mentioned group of colonels 
and It. colonels (information on them is attached), 170 who create the im- 
pression of being reasonable people who know military matters, think 
correctly politically, and are honest. 

This group should be given the possibility of reaching an understand- 
ing, in a conspiratorial form, with persons of the same mind [who are] in 
the camps for Polish POWs, and of selecting the cadre composition of the 
future division. 

After selecting the cadres, the future staff and a place for training the di- 
vision should be organized in one of [the] sovkhozes [state collective 
farms] in the southeastern part of the USSR. At the same time, with the co- 
operation of specially appointed workers of the RKKA [Worker-Peasant 
Red Army] staff a plan will be developed for forming the division, a deci- 
sion will be made on the type of division (armored, motorized, infantry), 
and its material-technical supplies will be assured. 

At the same time, NKVD organs should carry out appropriate work in 
the camps for Polish POWs among the soldiers and noncommissioned of- 
ficers with the aim of recruiting people for the division. 

As recruitment proceeds and the recruits are verified, they will be sent in 
groups to the locale of the divisional staff, where they will be given appro- 
priate training. 

The organization of the division and its preparation will be carried out 
under the direction of the RKKA General Staff. 171 A Special Section [In- 
telligence] of the NKVD USSR is being organized [together] with the divi- 
sion with the task of carrying out personal background checks of the divi- 
sion cadres. 

5. As for the Czech POWs in the NKVD camp, they are estimated to 
number 577 persons (501 Czechs and 76 Slovaks); of this number [there 
are]: staff captains and captains — 8; junior officers — 39; NCOs — 176, 
and 354 rank and file. 172 

In conversations with 13 selected officers it was established that all of 
them recognize Germany as their age-old enemy and want to fight against 
it for the restoration of the Czechoslovak state. They consider themselves 
as pledged to military service in the Czech Army and recognize Benesh 
[Benes] 173 as their leader, and in case any kind of Czech military units will 
be organized on the territory of the Soviet Union they will join them on Be- 
nes's order, or at a minimum, on that of their leader, Col. Svoboda, [who 
is] at present abroad. We have summoned Svoboda to come [here]. 174 
Enclosure: pertains to the text 175 

People's Commissar of Internal Affairs of the Soviet Union 
L. Beria 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


A few Polish officers led by Colonel Zygmunt Berling, who had ex- 
pressed willingness to organize a Polish division in the Red Army, were 
taken to a dacha in Malakhovka, on the eastern outskirts of Moscow, 
and told to draw up plans for the division. A May Day outing in Mos- 
cow and a film show were organized for them in 1941. 

• 92 • 

Gorlinsky and Rodionov to Soprunenko on the 1 May Festn 
for the Berling Group in Malakhovka* 
No later than 24 April 1941, Moscow 

Top Secret 

To the Head of the USSR NKVD UPV 
GB Captain Com. Soprunenko 

According to the plan approved by People's Commissar of State Secu- 
rity Comrade Merkulov, on 1 and 2 May 1941 for POWs located at the 
Malakhovka dacha, the following activities will be organized: 176 

1. On the morning of 1 May of this year, the POWs will be moved to 
Moscow under the escort of a group of operational workers led by de- 
partment head Comrade Kondratik to be shown the parade on Red 
Square. 177 

2. On the afternoon of 1 May at the Malakhovka dacha, a banquet will 
be organized, which the group of operational workers who escorted the 
POWs to Moscow and back will attend. 

3. In the evening, the following moving pictures should be shown: 

1 May — Muzykalnaia Istoria [A Musical Story]. 

2 May — Chapaev [and] Tsirk [The Circus]. 

In accordance with this, I request that you ensure: 

1. the transfer on the morning of 1 May of all the POWs to the group of 
operational workers led by Comrade Kondratik. 

2. a reinforced guard at the Malakhovka dacha during the holidays. 

3. the showing of the above-indicated moving pictures. 

We are sending money for the moving pictures in the amount of three 
hundred and seventy-five rubles (375 rubles). 

* Handwritten across the upper left corner: "Urgent. Com. Polukhin. Give orders concern- 
ing security. Com. Lisovsky, secure movie shows on r and 2 May. P. Soprun[enko]. 24.04.4r. 
Read. Kosygin. 30 May r94r." In thi_ I m -mi mm ]k I i i« Stamp for incoming 
mail: NKVD USSR Administration for Prisoner-of-War Affairs, 30 April r 94 r. No. 5 o 4 r." 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

Head of the 3rd Administration NKGB USSR 
GB Senior Major Gorlinsky 

Head of the 4th Department NKGB 
GB Captain Rodionov 

The Politburo's confirmation of the SNK [Council of People's Com- 
missars] resolution on forming a Polish division by 1 July 1941 was in- 
validated by the Sikorski-Maisky agreement of 30 July, which normal- 
ized Polish-Soviet relations and included raising a Polish Army in the 
USSR (doc. 94). 

• 93 • 

Excerpt from the Politburo Protocols on the Decision to Create 
a Polish Division in the Red Army 
4 June 1941, Moscow 178 

Top Secret 
No. P33/183 
From Special File 179 
Excerpt from the Protocol of the 33 rd Session 
of the Politburo TsK VKP(b) 
To: Com. Timoshenko, Chadaev 
Decision of 4 June 194 1 
[Point] 183 — Question of the NKO [People's Commissariat of Defense] 

Ratify the following resolution of the SNK USSR: 

1. Ratify the resolution proposed by the Commissar of National De- 
fense for establishing within the structure of the Red Army one rifle divi- 
sion made up of persons of Polish nationality and those who know the 
Polish language. 

2. The establishment of the division is to be implemented by comple- 
menting by 1 July 194 1 the Z38th Infantry Division of the Central Asiatic 
Military Region with Poles and persons knowing the Polish language who 
are serving in Red Army units. 180 

3. The 238th Infantry Division is to be maintained at [the level of] 
10,298 persons. 

Secretary, Central Committee 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

Nazi Germany attacked the USSR on 22 June 1941, which led to a 
series of new alliances. After the signing of a British-Soviet agreement 
in London on 12 July 1941, followed by Soviet agreements with the 
exiled Czechoslovak and Yugoslav governments there, the British gov- 
ernment pressed General Sikorski to conclude an agreement with the 
USSR. The negotiations, mediated by British Foreign Secretary An- 
thony Eden, were difficult because of the original Polish demand that 
the Soviet government recognize the prewar border, while Moscow 
spoke of an "ethnic" Poland. However, Sikorski wanted to raise a 
large Polish army in the USSR, so he worked out a compromise for- 
mula without clear-cut Soviet recognition of the prewar border. This 
led to a crisis in the Polish government, three of whose leading mem- 
bers resigned in protest (the deputy premier, General Kazimierz Sosn- 
kowski; Foreign Minister August Zaleski; and Justice Minister Marian 
Seyda). Despite this, and despite the opposition of the president, Wla- 
dyslaw Raczkiewicz, on 30 July 1941, Sikorski signed the agreement 
on behalf of the Polish government and Soviet Ambassador Ivan Mai- 
sky signed for the Soviet government. 

• 94 • 

Polish-Soviet Agreement on Reestablishing Diplomatic 
and Forming a Polish Army in the USSR 
30 July 1941, London 

Agreement between the Soviet Government and the 
Polish Government 

The Government of the Republic of Poland and the Government of the 
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics have concluded the present Agreement 
and decided as follows: 

1. The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics recog- 
nizes that the Soviet-German treaties of 1939 relative to territorial 
changes in Poland have lost their validity. 181 The Government of the Re- 
public of Poland declares that Poland is not bound by any Agreement with 
any third State directed against the USSR. 182 

2. Diplomatic relations will be restored between the two Governments 
upon the signature of this Agreement and an exchange of ambassadors 
will follow immediately. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

3 . The two Governments mutually undertake to render one another aid 
and support of all kinds in the present war against Hitlerite Germany. 

4. The Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics expresses 
its consent to the formation on the territory of the Union of Soviet Socialist 
Republics of a Polish Army under a commander appointed by the Govern- 
ment of the Republic of Poland, in agreement with the Government of the 
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The Polish Army on the territory of the 
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will be subordinated in operational 
matters to the Supreme Command of the USSR on which there will be a 
representative of the Polish Army. All details as to command, organization, 
and employment of this force will be settled in a subsequent Agreement. 183 

5. This Agreement will come into force immediately upon its signature 
and without ratification. The present Agreement is drawn up in two 
copies, each of them in the Russian and Polish languages. Both texts have 
equal force. 

Secret Protocol 

1. Various claims both of public and private nature will be dealt with in 
the course of further negotiations between the two governments. 

z. This protocol enters into force simultaneously with the Agreement of 
30 July 1941. 


1. As soon as diplomatic relations are reestablished the Government of the 
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics will grant amnesty to all Polish citizens 
who are at present deprived of their freedom on the territory of the USSR 
either as prisoners of war or on other adequate grounds. 

z. The present Protocol comes into force simultaneously with the Agree- 
ment of July 30, 1941. 184 

Wiadyslaw Sikorski I. Maisky 

The Polish-Soviet Military Agreement was the legal basis for the re- 
cruitment of the Polish Army in the USSR. 


Polish-Soviet Military Agreement 
14 August 1941, Moscow 

1. The military agreement derives naturally from the political agreement 
of 30 July 1941. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


2. The Polish Army will be organized in the shortest possible time on the 
territory of the USSR, [wherefore]: 

a) it will form part of the armed forces of the sovereign Republic of Poland; 

b) the soldiers of this army will take the oath of allegiance to the Re- 
public of Poland; 

c) it is designated to take part, with the Armed Forces of the USSR and 
other Allied states, in the common fight against Germany; 

d) after the end of the war, it will return to Poland; 

e) during the entire period of common operations, it will be subordi- 
nated operationally to the High Command of the USSR. In respect of or- 
ganization and personnel, it will remain under the authority of the com- 
mander in chief of the Polish Armed Forces, who will coordinate the 
orders and regulations concerning organization and personnel with the 
High Command of the USSR through the commander of the Polish Army 
on the territory of the USSR. 

3 . The commander of the Polish Army on the territory of the USSR will 
be appointed by the commander in chief of the Polish Armed Forces; 
the candidate for this appointment [is] to be approved by the Govern- 
ment of the USSR. 185 

4. The Polish Army on the territory of the USSR will consist of units of 
land forces only. Their strength and number will depend on man- 
power, equipment, and supplies available. 186 

5. Conscripts and volunteers, having previously served in the Polish 
Air Force and Navy, will be sent to Great Britain to complement the es- 
tablishments of the respective Polish services existing there. 

6. The formation of Polish units will be carried out in localities indi- 
cated by the High Command of the USSR. 187 Officers and other ranks 
will be called up from among Polish citizens on the territory of the 
USSR by conscription and voluntary enlistment. Draft boards will be 
established with the participation of USSR authorities in localities in- 
dicated by them. 188 

7. Polish units will be moved to the front only after they are fully ready 
for action. In principle, they will operate in groups not smaller than di- 
visions and will be used in accordance with the operational plans of 
the High Command of the USSR. 189 

8 . All soldiers of the Polish Army on the territory of the USSR will be 
subject to Polish military laws and decrees. 

Polish military courts will be established in the units for dealing with 
military offenses and crimes against the establishment, the safety, the 
routine, or the discipline of the Polish Army. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

For crimes against the State, soldiers of the Polish Army on the ter- 
ritory of the USSR will be answerable to the military courts of the 

9. The organization and war equipment of the Polish units will as far 
as possible correspond to the standards established for the Polish 
Army in Great Britain. 

The colors and insignia of the various services and military ranks 
will correspond exactly to those established for the Polish Army in 
Great Britain. 

10. The pay, rations, maintenance, and other material problems will be 
in accordance with regulations of the USSR. 

11. The sick and wounded soldiers of the Polish Army will receive 
treatment in hospitals and sanatoria on an equal basis with the soldiers 
of the USSR and be entitled to pensions and allowances. 

12. Armament, equipment, uniforms, motor transport, etc., will be 
provided as far as possible by: 

a) the Government of the USSR from their own resources 190 

b) the Polish Government from supplies granted on the basis of the 
Lend-Lease Act 191 

In this case, the Government of the USSR will extend all possible 
transportation facilities. 

13. Expenditures connected with the organization, equipment, and 
maintenance of the Polish Army on the territory of the USSR will be 
met from credits provided by the Government of the USSR, to be re- 
funded by the Polish Government after the end of the war. 

This problem will be dealt with in a separate financial agreement. 192 

14. Liaison will be established by: 

1) a Polish Military Mission attached to the High Command of the 

2) a Soviet Military Mission attached to the Polish High Command 
in London. 

Liaison officers attached to other commands will be appointed by 
mutual agreement. 

1 5 . All matters and details not covered by the agreement will be settled 
directly between the High Command of the Polish Army on the terri- 
tory of the USSR and the corresponding authorities of the USSR. 

16. This agreement is made in two copies, in the Polish and the Russian 
languages; both texts are equally valid. 193 

Katyn and Its Echoes 285 

Plenipotentiary of the Polish High Command 
[Zygmunt] Szyszko-Bohusz 
Brigadier General 

Plenipotentiary of the High Command of the USSR 
A[leksandr] Vasilevsky 
Major General 

When released POWs began to arrive at the recruiting centers in 
Buzuluk, Tatischev, and Totskoe near Kuibyshev [Samara], it became 
clear that thousands of officers counted on by the commander in chief, 
General Wladyslaw Anders, were missing, and the search for them be- 
gan. Polish inquiries met with the assurance that all prisoners had been 
released. However, point 5 of the Administration for Prisoner-of-War 
and Internee Affairs (UPVI) report of 3 December 194 1 revealed the 
truth — a truth that would not be admitted publicly until 1990. 

The report printed below was prepared for Stalin on the day he was 
to meet with the Polish premier and commander in chief, General Wla- 
dyslaw Sikorski (doc. 97). 

• 96 • 

UPVI Report on Polish POWs in NKVD Camps, 1939-1941, with Attachm 
3 December 1941, Kuibyshev 

Top Secret 
Note by Direct Line 
For Com. Fedotov 
Information on Former POWs of the Polish Army 
Who Were Detained in NKVD Camps 

1 . Total former POWs captured by Red Army 

units and internees deported from the Baltic 

States 130,242 people 1 ' 

2. [Those] released from camps and sent to 

the western oblasts of the UkSSR and 

BSSR in 1939 42,400 people 1 ' 

3 . Those who declared their willingness to 

leave for German-occupied territory in 
September and November 1939, 

286 Katyn and Its Echoes 

inhabitants of Polish territory taken 

by Germany* 4^-A9 2 - people 196 

4. Invalids [who were] residents of former 

Polish territory taken by Germany or 
individuals of German nationality 
[who were] handed over to the 
Germans in 1940-194 1 and also 
those handed over at the request of 

the German Embassy in 1940-1941 562 people 197 

5. Sent to the disposition of the UNKVD in 

April-May 1940 through 1st Special 

[NKVD] Department 15,131 people 198 

6. Sent to formation centers for the Polish 

Army, September-October 1941 2.5,115 people 

7. Those released but not drafted into the 

Polish Army due to illness or refusal 

to serve in it 289 people 

8. Individuals of German nationality held 

in Aktiubinsk camp not drafted into 

the Polish Army 263 people 

9. Those held in Aktiubinsk camp who were 

rejected by the Polish Army according to 
the documentation of the Special 

Department 2 people 

10. Died in the camps during this time 3 89 people 199 

11. Escaped from the camps during all this time 200 

12. Losses during the evacuation of Lvov camp 201 

13. Left the camps for various reasons during 

this time (released after imprisonment, as 
invalids, released on order of the USSR 
NKVD, sent to nursing homes for the 
handicapped, released from the camp, 

and [then] arrested by operations organs) [no number given] 

Head of the USSR NKVD Administration for Prisoner-of-War 

and Internee Affairs 

GB Captain (Soprunenko) 
Began transmission: 9:15. Ended 9:45 [a.m.] Received. Maketov — secret 
part. 202 

* Written in by hand over crossed-out text: "Handed over to the Germans in the course of 
the exchange." 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Sources of Information* 
Information for point no. 2 

Report of 19 November 1939 (report file for 1939). 

Report of June 1941 (report file no. 45, p. 250). 
Information for point no. 3 

See two attached reports of 24 November 194 1. 
Information for point no. 4 

See information under No. 25/10981 of 14 November 1940 (report file 
for 1940). 

Sixty [data] cards on those sent to the Germans from November 1940 to 
May 1941. 

Information for point no. 5! 

See three attached reports on Starobelsk, Kozelsk, and Ostashkov 

Information for point no. 6 

See attached report. 
Information for point no. 7 

See attached report. 
Information for point no. 8 

See status memorandum from Aktiubinsk camp (263 people). 
Information for point no. 9 

See status report from Aktiubinsk camp (2 people). 
Information for point no. 10 

See notes in data book on dead Poles. 
Information for point no. 1 1 

See card file of escaped Polish POWs. 
Information for point no. 12 

See report on losses incurred during the evacuation of Lvov camp (see 
Lvov camp file no. 29, pages 579-593). 
Information for point no. 13 

See materials in the alphabetical files. 

The Polish premier and commander in chief, General Sikorski, ar- 
rived in Moscow on 2 December 194 1, after flying to the USSR from 
London via Cairo and Tehran. He stopped earlier for two days in 
Kuibyshev, where most Soviet ministries, government offices, and the 
diplomatic corps had been located since their evacuation from the So- 
viet capital in October. His goals were to secure the release of thou- 

* There are no attachments to the document as published in the Polish and Russian editions, 
t Missing from the original document. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

sands of Poles still held by the Soviets, especially the officers needed for 
the army, to improve Soviet provisioning of the Polish troops and their 
living conditions, and to help the civilian deportees. Stalin was well 
aware of the missing officers' fate (doc. 96) but could not tell Sikorski 
the truth. Sikorski's proposals on moving the Polish troops to a 
warmer climate were justified by the harsh Russian winter, but should 
be viewed also in the context of his own goal of moving them nearer 
Iran so they could be armed by the British, who also wanted them 
there. At the end of October, Churchill had requested Sikorski to se- 
cure Stalin's consent for moving the Polish Army to a location near the 
Iranian border. Indeed, Churchill wished to have some Polish troops 
stationed in Iran to replace Soviet troops there, or to be sent to the 
Middle East to supplement British forces. In early November 194 1, 
President Roosevelt also requested of Stalin that Polish troops be 
moved to Iran. This Anglo-American pressure may explain Stalin's ir- 
ritation at Sikorski's proposal to move the Polish troops there if they 
could not be supplied adequately by the Soviets. Stalin's agreement to 
increase the number of Polish troops to 96,000, along with the neces- 
sary food supplies, was due partly to Sikorski's willingness to leave 
most of them in the USSR, but was probably more an incentive for the 
Polish leaders to revise the interwar Polish-Soviet frontier in favor of 
the USSR, which he suggested to Sikorski at the Kremlin banquet the 
following day. At this time, the Germans were within striking distance 
of Moscow, but they were thrown back by General Georgy K. Zhukov 
a few days later. 

The conversation between Stalin and Sikorski is given in full, even 
though there is only some mention of the missing Polish officers, be- 
cause it is a record of the only substantial dialogue between the two 
men. It shows Stalin's bargaining technique and his mastery of military 
detail. It also throws light on the extreme weather conditions and pri- 
vations endured by Polish troops in the Kuibyshev region at this time. 
(Polish names are given here with Polish spelling.) 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

• 97 • 

Conversation of Stalin and Molotov with General Wtadyslaw Sikorski, 
Polish Premier; General Wtadyslaw Anders, Commander of the Polish Army 
in the USSR; and Professor Stanisiaw Kot, Polish Ambassador to the USSR 203 
3 December 1941, Moscow 

Top Secret 

Record of Conversation between Com. I. V. Stalin and the Chairman of 
the Polish Council of Ministers Wladyslaw Sikorski 

3 December 1941, at 1800 hours 

Com. Stalin receives Sikorski in the presence of Com. V. M. Molotov. 

After an exchange of mutual greetings, Sikorski, who arrived accompa- 
nied by Polish Ambassador Kot and the commander of Polish forces on 
USSR territory, General Anders, states that he has never been a supporter 
of the hostile policy toward the Soviet Union of certain circles in Poland. 
This gave him a moral right to sign the 30 July 194 1 treaty with the 
USSR. 204 However, Sikorski would not like the slow implementation of 
the treaty to create difficulties for his [Stalin's] relations with the Poles. 205 
He hopes that Com. Stalin will be of help in the implementation of this 
treaty so that minor shortcomings do not impede the development of So- 
viet-Polish relations. Sikorski is aware of the difficulties that the Soviet 
Union has had to endure while four-fifths of all Germany's land forces 
have been thrown into action against Russia. Sikorski was an advocate for 
the Soviet Union in London and America. Long ago he composed a mem- 
orandum urging the opening of a second front, which Com. Stalin spoke 
about in his own report of 6 November. 206 However, creating a second 
front is no easy matter. The creation of a second front must not lead to an- 
other Dakar. 207 

Unfortunately, some of the measures that were supposed to be imple- 
mented in the USSR in accordance with the Soviet-Polish treaty have yet to 
be implemented. Many Poles are still in prisons and camps, where they are 
losing their strength and health instead of serving our common cause. 
Sikorski and the Polish ambassador cannot produce exact lists of these in- 
dividuals, but the heads of the concentration camps have these lists in their 

Com. Stalin replies that all Poles who were imprisoned have been re- 
leased under the amnesty. A few of them may have run away somewhere 
before liberation, to Manchuria, for example. 208 I would like, says Com. 
Stalin, for Mr. Sikorski to enjoy full confidence that we do not have any in- 
tention of detaining even one Pole. We have released all of them, even 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

those who came to the USSR with sabotage assignments from General 
Sosnkowski. 209 

Com. Molotov says that only those Poles convicted on criminal charges 
remain imprisoned. 

Com. Stalin adds that early in the war we arrested several Poles whom 
the Germans had smuggled in with radios for purposes of espionage. 210 
Indeed, the Polish government is not demanding their release. 

Sikorski and Kot reply that the Polish government is not defending such 
individuals. However, Kot points out, many Polish patriots remain im- 

Sikorski says that the publication of an appeal to Soviet officials and the 
Soviet population to treat the Poles better would bring great benefit. 

Com. Stalin replies that the Soviet population does treat the Poles well. 

Sikorski replies that he was witness in Kuibyshev to the sorry plight of 
one transport of Poles. 211 The population treats the Poles well, but the 
representatives of the local administration often treat them badly. The 
Polish government would like to divide the [civilian] Poles in the USSR 
into two groups. The first group would include those who can and should 
work. However, these people must work in their own trades. It is bad if a 
Polish tank specialist is forced to work as a woodcutter. There have been 
instances when outstanding Polish chemists have been doing physical la- 
bor. Many of these individuals could be left where they are settled, while 
others should be settled in regions with a warmer climate. They could 
work under the same conditions as Soviet citizens. The second group 
would include those who cannot work, that is, children, old people, and 
invalids. They require material assistance. In addition, representatives of 
the Polish Embassy must have the right to go where Poles have been as- 
sembled and render assistance to the Polish population there. The Polish 
Embassy would also like to have its own representative in Vladivostok to 
receive transports [of supplies] arriving for Poles from America. 212 

Com. Stalin replies that the amnesty in this country was universal. A 
few Poles released from the camps may not have been able to leave owing 
to transportation difficulties. At the present time there are no Poles in pris- 
ons, in camps, or in exile except for criminals or those linked with the Ger- 

General Anders says that at the present time there are also unliberated 
Poles in the camps. Individuals who have been released from the camps 
come to see him all the time and tell him that many Poles remain in the 

Com. Molotov notes that if the Poles are coming to see him, then they 
have been released. 
Anders says that the heads of the camps are gradually releasing Poles, 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


and many Poles are still imprisoned. The problem is that releasing the 
Poles would undermine the work plans of the camp commanders. 213 
Therefore, the camp commanders prefer not to release the Poles. Anders 
hands Com. Stalin a list of Poles who, according to his information, are 
still in the camps. 214 

Com. Stalin promises to look into this matter once more and to put the 
matter to rights. As for the question of giving [Soviet] officials instructions 
to treat the Poles better and the suggestion that Polish specialists be able to 
work in their own trades and professions, we will do this. We can also give 
agents of the Polish ambassador the opportunity to carry out the specified 
work with the Polish population. Com. Stalin directs Sikorski's attention 
to the difficulties of transportation for the Poles. Right now the Germans 
have occupied our regions with a more developed railway network. In the 
eastern regions of the Soviet Union, the railway network is less developed, 
and this creates difficulties in transporting Poles. Sikorski must realize 
that it is necessity rather than any ill will that is to blame for these difficul- 
ties. Now the situation will be improving gradually, since the evacuation 
period is over: the evacuation of seventy factories, including aircraft and 
machine-building plants, is complete. 

Com. Molotov adds that at the present time a regulation concerning lo- 
cal representatives of the Polish Embassy is being worked out. This regu- 
lation is being coordinated between the Polish Embassy and the Narko- 
mindel [People's Commissariat of Foreign Affairs]. 215 

Kot says that those Poles who are being released in the Far East could be 
settled somewhere in the Altai region and not necessarily be transferred to 
southern regions. 

Com. Stalin says that the region of Alma-Ata and the regions of south- 
ern Kazakhstan could be designated for the settlement of Poles. 

Anders expresses his wish that the Poles be settled in the Fergana region 
[Farghona, Uzbekistan]. 

Com. Stalin explains that Fergana is a region where we import wheat; 
the land there is planted in cotton. Therefore, we need to stipulate the set- 
tlement of Poles in regions that produce ample grain. 

Com. Stalin points on the map to those regions where the Poles could be 

Sikorski gives his consent to settling the Poles in these regions. Sikorski 
and Kot say that they want the Poles to help fight Germany, not die in vain 
in the north. 

"We want the same thing," replies Com. Stalin. "We are in favor of 
friendship with the Poles and a joint struggle against Germany. Enough of 
all the hostility between the Poles and Russians! History dictates to us the 
necessity of an alliance of the Slavic nations." 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Sikorski goes on to say that it would be desirable to obtain an assistance 
loan for the Polish population. According to Sikorski, 100 million rubles 
would fully satisfy the Polish government. 

Com. Stalin replies that this can be done. 216 

Com. Stalin asks whether the Poles have any other questions regarding 
the Polish civilian population in the USSR and, receiving a negative an- 
swer, proposes moving on to survey military issues. 

Sikorski states that the Poles want to conduct a real rather than a token 
war against the Germans. 

"Where, in the colonies?" asks Com. Stalin. 

Sikorski replies that the Polish Army wants to fight on the continent for 
the liberation of Poland. At the present time, Poles on German-occupied 
territory are engaged in anti-German sabotage. At the appropriate mo- 
ment, there will be an uprising in Poland. 217 A million and a half Poles 
have been deported to Germany. The Polish government is in constant 
communication with them. These Poles have already created quite a bit of 
trouble for the Germans, for example, in the metallurgical industry in 
Westphalia. Moreover, the Poles have facilitated an outbreak of epidemics 
in Germany by spreading bacteria. 218 Sikorski is reporting this informa- 
tion in complete confidentiality. He has not even told Churchill about the 
spreading of bacteria, since the English are very sentimental and would 
not understand this. 

Com. Stalin remarks jokingly that if Sikorski tried to tell the English 
about this, there would be a report about it in the English press the next 

"Besides," says Sikorski, "we have a corps of our own troops in En- 

"How many divisions?" asks Com. Stalin. 

"One division, three brigades, and one officers' brigade," replies Sikor- 
ski. "There are many Polish officers in England but not enough soldiers. 
Moreover, we have nineteen air squadrons there." 219 

Com. Stalin asks how many planes there are in a Polish air squadron. 

"Twenty-seven planes," replies Sikorski. "Polish pilots have fought well 
against the Germans, and 20 percent of all the planes knocked out by the 
English Air Force can be racked up to Polish pilots." 220 Sikorski empha- 
sizes that he is speaking about these affairs as a military man and has no 
plans for making political use of this. 

"When men fight well — that's the best politics," says Comrade Stalin. 

Moreover, continues Sikorski, there is one independent Polish brigade 
in Tobruk. 221 After the liberation of Tobruk it will be transferred to Syria, 
where it will be motorized and acquire two tank battalions. The Polish 
government has several battleships in the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediter- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


ranean Sea. 222 The Polish government also has military units and large 
manpower reserves in the USSR. The Poles in the USSR are the sole man- 
power reserve of the Polish government. If the treaty with the USSR is 
properly implemented, then the Poles can form eight divisions in the 
USSR, in addition to supplemental units for corps and divisions. Polish 
troops in England will compose the vanguard of the English landing force 
in the event of the formation of a second front in Europe or else will be 
transferred to the USSR in order, together with the other Polish troops, to 
participate in the fight against Germany. In that case, Sikorski himself 
would come to the USSR to lead the Polish troops. 

Sikorski expresses his concern over the fact that Polish divisions in the 
USSR are being formed under very difficult conditions that make it im- 
possible to create a good army. The war could go on for a long time. As it 
unfolds, the moment nears when the Poles will be able to get a large quan- 
tity of military hardware from England and the United States. The English 
government has assured the Poles that they can get arms and food in En- 
gland as long as the Polish troops are situated in proximity to English 

Anders says that his troops, about 40,000 men, are now in very difficult 
conditions. So far two divisions have been formed. 

"How many artillery battalions do you have?" asks Com. Stalin. 

[Anders:] "I have two battalions altogether, with one battery per regi- 

Com. Stalin says that the Poles started the war with the Germans with 
divisions of 15,000, which included two artillery regiments apiece: one 
cannon regiment and a howitzer regiment. Such a division proved un- 
wieldy. The howitzers were left behind. [Now] the enemy has no fortifica- 
tions, so there is less need for the howitzers. The division is lighter. Our 
military also believe that the division ought to be lighter, so right now our 
divisions do not have enough artillery. We are reinforcing our divisions 
with antitank artillery, mortars, and antitank rifles. In this way, the mod- 
ern division has from 11,600 to 12,000 men. 

Anders says he believes that Polish divisions need to be formed on the 
basis of the same calculation. 

Sikorski says that at the present time they have armaments for one divi- 
sion in the USSR. The second division has not been armed. Moreover, the 
Polish divisions are situated in locations with a very severe climate. Right 
now it is 33 degrees below zero [Celsius], and the Polish soldiers have to 
live in tents. 223 Sikorski is worried that they will die without making any 
contribution to the war against Germany. He has spoken with Churchill 
about moving the camp somewhere else — for example, Iran — where these 
divisions could be completed and in four months return to the USSR, pos- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

sibly accompanied by English troops, and be transferred to a specific sec- 
tor of the German-Soviet front to fight alongside the Red Army. 

Com. Stalin remarks that the army that goes to Iran will never come 

"Why?" asks Sikorski. 

"England has a lot of work to do on the fronts," says Com. Stalin. 
"We have work to do here," replies Anders. 

Com. Stalin says that later the English will say, "We equipped you; 
therefore you have to work for us." 

Sikorski states that the Polish government disposes of its own army in- 
dependently. It could return the troops that are transferred to Iran to the 
USSR and might add to them the brigade now in Tobruk. 

Kot adds that the Poles fight better when they are closer to Poland. 

"Iran is not close to Poland," says Com. Stalin. 

Sikorski states that England today is not what it was when he, Sikorski, 
saw it in 1940. Now the English have a great number of troops. 

Com. Molotov says that as he understands it, the difficulties of forming 
the units in the USSR make it necessary, in the opinion of the Polish gov- 
ernment, to move the Polish troops from the USSR to Iran. 

Anders replies in the affirmative and says that they have not received a 
single building fit for residence, nor lumber to build barracks. There are 
no stables. The horses are in very bad shape. They [Polish Army] can't 
build schools. 224 Food is supplied in inadequate quantities. 

Sikorski states that he knows Churchill and is confident that he will not 
make difficulties over the issue of bringing Polish units back to the USSR 
from Iran. An agreement could be signed to this effect that Churchill, too, 
would sign. 

Com. Stalin points out that we cannot force the Poles to fight. There can 
be no talk of a treaty. If the Poles don't want to [fight], then we will make 
do with our own divisions. 

Com. Molotov asks what needs to be done in practical terms to improve 
conditions for the formation of Polish units. 

Anders again refers to the cold, to the fact that he is not getting boards 
for construction, tractors for moving building materials, and so on. 

"We aren't going to haggle!" says Com. Stalin. "If the Poles want to 
fight closer to their own territory, then let them stay with us. If they don't, 
we can't demand this of them. If it's to be Iran, then let it be Iran. Go 
ahead! I am sixty-two years old," continues Com. Stalin, "and I have the 
life experience that tells me that an army is going to fight wherever it is 

Sikorski says that they could form the army in Iran under better condi- 
tions than in the USSR. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


"We won't make difficulties," says Com. Stalin. 

Sikorski states that he is not posing this question as an ultimatum. Per- 
haps there is another region in the USSR where the Polish Army could be 
formed under better conditions. Unfortunately, it cannot be formed where 
it is now. 

Com. Stalin replies that we do have different climatic zones, but that is 
not the point. After all, the Poles are not from warm countries either! 

Anders replies that in Poland there is never the kind of freezing cold that 
there is in the USSR. Moreover, the Polish Army includes men from vari- 
ous regions of Poland, including southern regions. At the present time, the 
Polish Army is simply fighting to survive and not preparing to fight on the 

Sikorski adds that if the Polish Army is not trained, then it will have a 
hard time fighting at the front. Sikorski says that he was a little stung by 
Com. Stalin's comment that the Poles don't want to fight. 

"I am a bit crude and no diplomat," says Com. Stalin. "I'm putting the 
question bluntly: Do the Poles want to fight?" 

"They do," replies Sikorski. 

Com. Stalin points out that probably not all the Poles will go to Iran; 
some will stay behind. 

Com. Molotov asks how the Poles who stay in the USSR will react to the 
fact that the Polish Army has gone to Iran. 

Anders says that the Poles will return from Iran to fight the Germans. 
He, Anders, is firmly convinced that air and naval operations alone can- 
not lead to victory over Germany. The bayonet will take Berlin. 

Com. Stalin says that the Poles can get armaments more quickly from us 
than from the English. "I know," says Com. Stalin, "what sea shipments 

Anders says that in the USSR the Poles could form an army of 150,000 
men, which would mean eight divisions. The pilots would be sent to En- 
gland to return to the Polish Army in the USSR with the planes. Moreover, 
there are another eight armored battalions, which at present are felling 
trees for the camps of the Polish Army. 

Com. Stalin reminds the general that the Poles themselves refused to 
form air and armored units in the USSR. 

Anders admits that he did not raise the issue of tanks and aviation dur- 
ing the [negotiations for the] conclusion of the military agreement. 225 He, 
Anders, by the way, thought it acceptable to shift the Polish armies to the 
south so that they could get their food via the auto route between Mashad 
[northeast Iran] and Ashkhabad [Ashgabat, southeast Turkmenistan, on 
the Iranian-Soviet frontier]. There are many drivers in the Polish Army 
who could serve in the motor columns. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

Com. Stalin says that the Red Army divisions are well dressed and well 
fed. A large number of men from the south serve in them, but they are not 
complaining about the climate as the Poles are. 

Anders replies that his divisions are not receiving the same [supplies] as 
Red Army units. They are not getting what they are supposed to. They 
have absolutely no potatoes, and they are not receiving any vegetables. 
There are great interruptions in the food supply in general. The soldiers 
are living in tents and dugouts. The stables are made out of brushwood. 

"Do as you wish," says Com. Stalin. "If it's to be Iran, then let it be 

Sikorski says that he did not wish to put the issue so harshly, but would 
prefer to find a solution in full accord with Com. Stalin. 

"I understand," says Com. Stalin. "England needs the Polish troops. 
England is our ally, so go ahead!" 

Sikorski says he is confident that not only Polish but also English divi- 
sions would come together from Iran to the USSR. Sikorski is ready to put 
this question to Churchill. Churchill has assured him that English units 
are ready to move to a sector of the Russian front. The Polish Army in En- 
gland is in an independent position. If Sikorski wants to move the Polish 
troops here from England, he is confident that he could do so without any 
objections on the part of the English. Only a few Polish airmen in England 
would remain there, those who are in English units. 

Com. Stalin says that he is not against Polish units fighting alongside 
English troops. Com. Stalin asks what will happen to the Soviet-Polish 
treaty if the Polish Army goes to Iran? This could not be concealed, and 
the treaty would collapse. 

Anders says that the war against the Germans will continue anyway, so 
he doesn't see why the treaty should collapse. 

"This is a platonic war," says Com. Stalin, and [he] points out that the 
Polish divisions in the USSR will be able to fight on the front in a month or 
two. "Right now there are two Polish divisions, a third can be formed, and 
then we will have a Polish corps." 

Anders points out that he has many untrained soldiers. 

"But you do have reservists," says Com. Stalin. 

"Reservists make up 60 percent of my forces," replies Anders. 

"You have 60 percent reservists and you have decided that nothing can 
be done. You weren't given boards and you think all is lost! We will take 
Poland and turn it over to you in half a year. We have enough troops, we 
can manage without you. But what will people say when they find out? 
And the Polish troops that will be in Iran are going to have to fight wher- 
ever the English want." 

"Where will they have to fight?" asks Anders. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


"Defend Turkey from the Germans," replies Com. Stalin. "Maybe the 
English will need troops in North Africa, or in half a year Japan will enter 
[the war] and then the Poles may be sent to Singapore." 

"Organize a corps here," continues Com. Stalin, "so that people don't 
start laughing, and you can shift the rest to Iran. Do you want a place and 
supplies for seven divisions? If you want to send your troops to Iran, send 
them, but it would be good for you and for the common cause to form 
three divisions here. The rest you can send to Iran, if England needs 
troops. Before long, we ourselves are going to help it out with troops." 

Sikorski says that the English are slow to act, but now they are not the 
same as before. If Com. Stalin can find a place to form Polish divisions in 
the USSR, then the issue of moving them does not have to be raised, other 
than transferring Poles to England to reinforce air units [there]. 

Summoned by Com. Stalin, Major General [Aleksei P.] Panfilov, the 
General Staff plenipotentiary for forming the Polish Army on the territory 
of the USSR, enters the study where the conversation is taking place. 

Com. Stalin tells him the Poles are complaining that we are not feeding 
their soldiers, or giving them shoes or clothing, and are keeping them in 
the cold. 

Com. Panfilov replies that the supplying of Polish units is proceeding 
normally and that recently they were also given stoves. 

"Do our troops live any better?" asks Com. Stalin. 

Com. Panfilov replies that our troops live no better. If the Polish troops 
are experiencing shortages in supplies, then General Anders is to blame 
for not informing Com. Panfilov of this. So far the Polish Army has been 
given food rations for 30,000, but the army has grown, and after a while 
they started being given more, but then the supply was cut back to 
30,000. 226 

Com. Stalin says that after his conversation with the Polish ambassador 
the former supplies were restored. The same day he gave instructions to 
restore the former rate of supply. 227 

Anders points out that the former rate of supply for his troops was not 

"Why?" Com. Stalin asks Com. Panfilov. 

Com. Panfilov replies that instructions to restore the former number of 
rations were given by General [Andrei V.] Khrulev. 

"They need rations, not instructions," says Com. Stalin. 

"Why have the rations been held up?" asks Com. Molotov. 

"After all, men live on bread, not instructions!" adds Com. Stalin. 

Sikorski says that he did not want to raise the question of taking his 
troops out of the USSR, but after he saw that their formation was pro- 
ceeding under such difficult conditions, he raised the question. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

Com. Stalin says that he is posing the question once again, honestly and 
bluntly: If it will be better for the Polish troops in Iran, then let them go to 
Iran. If the Polish troops want to form up and live in the same conditions 
as ours, then they can form three to five divisions. Our army has better 
uniforms and food than the German Army. The Red Army lives better 
than the German Army does. We can ensure that the Polish Army will 
have the same conditions as the Red Army. 

Anders replies that if he got for his men and horses what they get in the 
Red Army, he would be quite satisfied. 

"You will get that," Com. Stalin says. 

Sikorski says a warmer place has to be found and [then] the Polish Army 
can be formed. His suggestion to move the troops to Iran was prompted 
only by his desire to get his army ready to fight as quickly as possible. 

Com. Stalin says it seemed to him that the whole point was that the En- 
glish needed troops. 

"We want to fight on the continent," Anders declares. "We will stick the 
bayonet into Berlin." 

Com. Stalin says the Russians have been in Berlin twice, and they will be 
there a third time. 228 

Anders replies that the Poles have never been in Berlin, but they have 
been at Grunwald. 

Com. Stalin reminds him that the Battle of Grunwald took place in the 
fifteenth century. 229 

Anders confirms this and expresses admiration for Com. Stalin's mem- 

Sikorski goes on to say that many Poles have been sent to Uzbekistan to 
form new units, but the conditions there are difficult. 230 

Com. Stalin instructs Major General Panfilov to find barracks for the 
Polish troops. This will require closing several schools. 

Anders says that the Poles can form eight divisions, plus the corps and 
auxiliary troops, for a total of 150,000 men. 

Com. Stalin asks Anders whether he is not being overly enthusiastic: 
150,000 is a very large number. Maybe such a number of Poles want to 
join the army, but not all of them may want to fight. Maybe some want to 
join the army just to get fed. They reason thus: "The war will probably be 
over before we get moved to the front, and in the meantime we will be sure 
to get fed." 

Sikorski says that there may be men like that, but most likely they are 

Com. Stalin says Jews aren't the only ones who can reason like this. As 
far as Jews are concerned, they are poor fighters. 

Anders says he had some Jews who were only in the army to get fed, but 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

they have already run away: 350 of them ran away after [hearing of] an 
air raid on Kuibyshev, which did not take place. 231 

Com. Stalin asks what armaments Polish troops have been given in the 

Com. Panfilov hands Com. Stalin a list of what Polish troops in the 
USSR have and have not received. Essentially everything has been pro- 
vided, Com. Panfilov says. They received more mortars, shells, and gre- 
nade throwers than warranted by the size of their military organization. 
The Poles had no antitank or antiaircraft artillery except for four cannon. 

Sikorski asks Com. Stalin about the new locations for the formation of 
the Polish Army. 

Com. Stalin asks whether the Poles would object to forming the army in 
several locations. 

On receiving a negative reply, Com. Stalin points out that Central Asia 
— Uzbekistan, maybe Turkmenistan, and maybe Transcaucasia — could 
serve as locations. 232 

Sikorski asks how many divisions can be raised. 

Com. Stalin points out that the Red Army does not have corps in it any- 
more. We have found corps command levels to be a hindrance, so now our 
divisions are only grouped in armies. Com. Stalin asks whether the Poles 
want to raise seven divisions. We can equip them just like the Red Army. 
We will equip them partly on our own and partly they will be [equipped 
by] the English and the Americans. 

Anders says they can raise an army without corps formations. 

Sikorski states he will take measures to obtain armaments from Amer- 
ica and England. 

Com. Stalin remarks that sea transportation is rather difficult, and con- 
voys can be late. Much can happen at sea. 

Sikorski says the Poles will form seven divisions. They will transfer their 
airmen to England. Sikorski asks whether the Soviet Union needs airmen. 

Com. Stalin says we are now on a par with the Germans with respect to 
their air force on our front. In some places we have superiority. Our air- 
craft are not bad. We are short of tanks. 

Sikorski says that a large part of the German Air Force has been shifted 
to Africa. 

"That could be," Com. Stalin replies. "We can tell that the German Air 
Force is now weaker. Their pilots are bad and their planes somewhat old. 
The Germans have no fighter planes that can go 5 80 kilometers an hour or 
bombers with speeds over 500 kilometers per hour. Their famous Junkers 
plane can only go 460 kilometers per hour. Moreover, the Germans have 
very little cannon power on their aircraft." 

Sikorski says that he, too, considers the Soviet Air Force very strong. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

You cannot compare the air defenses of Moscow and London. Moscow is 
much better protected than London and the damage in Moscow is minor. 

Com. Stalin says that the English are good pilots. They fought well at 
Murmansk, where they had their fighter planes. "The English pilots are 
great boys," Com. Stalin says. 233 

Sikorski praises Soviet pilots. They are famous for their skill and cour- 

Com. Stalin says he believes the Slavs are the bravest of all European 
peoples. Besides this, they are quick to learn everything. They are young 
nations, not yet worn out by life in the slums. 

Anders says the Slavs are not like the French. 

Com. Stalin says the French are a good people, but their rulers have 
been bad. The French are a capable people. The Germans have managed 
to make the Slavs their enemies. The Slavs are going to beat the Germans. 
This is not what Hitler wanted. 

Sikorski says this is also his view. 

Sikorski then says he would like to visit the places where Polish troops 
are forming, also where Poles are concentrated in the USSR, and then fly 
back to Moscow for a concluding conversation with Com. Stalin. 

"I am at your service," replies Com. Stalin. 234 

Sikorski expresses his desire to go on the air tomorrow and broadcast a 
declaration on behalf of the governments of all the occupied countries. He 
gave the text of the declaration to Com. Vyshinsky in Kuibyshev. 

Com. Stalin replies that he has read the declaration and that it would be 
very good for Sikorski to read it over the radio. 

Sikorski asks for London to be informed of the time of the broadcast so 
that the declaration can be transmitted from there in other languages. 

Com. Stalin says the declaration will be translated in Moscow into 
twenty-four languages and broadcast from Moscow. 235 

Sikorski hands Com. Stalin a written draft of the Soviet-Polish declara- 
tion. Com. Stalin can decide whether or not such a declaration is needed. 
Sikorski believes this declaration will make a favorable impression on 

Com. Stalin takes the draft declaration and promises to read it and give 
his comments tomorrow. 236 

In conclusion, Com. Stalin and Sikorski agree that General Anders and 
General Panfilov will meet tomorrow to discuss the details of the forma- 
tion of Polish units. 237 

The conversation took place in the study of Comrade V. M. Molotov in 
the [building of the] USSR SNK, lasted two hours and thirty minutes, and 
was conducted in the Polish language. General Anders translated. 

Recorded by Podtserob" 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

The background to General Anders's conversation with Stalin in 
Moscow, 1 8 March 1942, was a drastic reduction of food rations for 
the Polish Army. In February and March 1942, Soviet military author- 
ities put increasing pressure on Anders to send the 5th Polish Division, 
which was almost ready, to the front. He refused, citing the poor phys- 
ical condition of the men — indeed, many had malaria and typhoid 
fever — but mainly he refused because both he and General Sikorski 
wanted the army to fight as a unit. His refusal led to the reduction in 
food allocations. The reduction also may have been intended to press 
Sikorski to discuss the postwar Soviet-Polish frontier with Stalin, for at 
this time the Soviet media consistently gave Polish towns Soviet names, 
terminology protested by the Polish government. When Anders sent a 
telegram to Stalin protesting the food reduction, Stalin invited the gen- 
eral to see him in Moscow. At this meeting, Anders suggested that part 
of the army be transferred to Iran, and Stalin agreed. 

The Polish record of the conversation is much longer than Molo- 
tov's message to Aleksandr Bogomolov, Soviet ambassador to the Al- 
lied governments in London. It contains Anders's question about the 
missing Polish officers and his plan to fly to London to see General 
Sikorski. Stalin answered that he did not know the whereabouts of the 
officers, but said, "We have traces of their stay in Kolyma," which sug- 
gests that the known rumors to this effect may have been spread 
among Polish survivors by the NKVD. Stalin also said, "It may be that 
they are in camps in territories taken by the Germans and have dis- 
persed there," which was the first time that such a Soviet suggestion 
was made. He promised to give Anders a plane to fly to Cairo on his 
way to London, where he was to confer with Sikorski. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

■ 98 • 

Molotov's Telegram to the Soviet Ambassador in London, 
Aleksandr Bogomolov, on Stalin's Conversation with Anders 
21 March 1942, Moscow 239 

Outgoing No. 1141 
Top Secret 
Making of copies prohibited. 
Received 1615 hrs., 21 March 1942. 
Sent 1930 hrs., 21 March 1942. 
Special no. 52 
Copy no. 1 

Cipher Telegram [to] Soviet Ambassador Bogomolov, London 

On 18 March, Com. Stalin, in my presence, received General Anders, 
who had requested an audience in connection with the decision that as of 
21 March the Polish Army in the USSR, numbering about 70,000, would 
receive food rations for only 40,000. 240 Com. Stalin stated that during the 
September conference in Moscow, the United States and England under- 
took the obligation to supply the USSR with 200,000 tons of wheat per 
month. However, up to the present, only 60,000 tons have been sup- 
plied. 241 The cause of this non-implementation of the supply plan is the 
outbreak of war in the Pacific Ocean. 242 The resulting, unforeseen food 
deficit forces us, in view of the need to supply combatant troops at the ex- 
pense of the noncombatants, not only to reduce the number of food ra- 
tions for the Polish Army but also to limit the formation of some new units 
for the Red Army. 

In the course of the conversation, Com. Stalin agreed to [the following]: 

1. Food rations will be supplied for up to the existing number [of men] 
to the end of March, and from April, rations for 44,000 will be sup- 
plied. 243 

2. [Of] the Polish Army, over 44,000 will be transferred to Iran, as pro- 
posed by Anders. 

3. Of the three Polish divisions formed in the USSR, the USSR will arm 
two and the English one. 

4. If the Polish Army, after forming and arming in Iran, is sent to the So- 
viet-German front, the USSR will ensure its food supplies. 

Com. Stalin emphasized that we are not pressing the Poles to go to the 
front. The Poles can also come in when the Red Army reaches the frontiers 
of Poland. 

Anders informed [us] that he is flying to London in the first days of 

Katyn and Its Echoes 303 
I communicate [this to you] for your information. 

Distributed to: Com. Stalin, Com. Molotov, Com. Vyshinsky. 3 copies. 

Pursuant to the Stalin-Anders conversation, part of the Polish Army, 
together with some civilians, was evacuated to Iran at the end of 
March and in early April 1942. They went by rail to the port of Kras- 
novodsk (now Turkmenbashi) and then sailed in cargo ships across the 
Caspian Sea to the port of Pahlavi, now Bandar-e Anzali, Iran. 


on the Polish Army's Evacuation to Iran 244 
4 April 1942, Moscow 

Top Secret 
No. 583/b 
Copy no. 1 

To the State Committee on Defense 
Com. Stalin 

In fulfilling the government directive, the evacuation of some contin- 
gents of military servicemen of the Polish Army and [other] Polish citizens 
was completed on 3 April this year. 

42,254 persons were sent from Krasnovodsk to Pahlavi, including 
30,099 Polish military [personnel] and 12,155 Polish citizens [civil- 
ians]. 245 

147 sick persons remained in the hospital in Krasnovodsk. 
In the course of the evacuation, there were no disruptions in bringing up 
railway cars, ships, nor with food and sanitary service. 246 

People's Commissar of Internal Affairs USSR 
L. Beria 

Distributed to: Com. Stalin, Com. Molotov 

At the end of April, General Anders flew to London via Tehran and 
Cairo, where he met with Churchill and high-level British military of- 
ficers. In London he met with Sikorski and other members of the Pol- 
ish government. When he returned to Polish Army headquarters at 
Yangi-Yul (Tashkent district, Uzbekistan), Anders found rations re- 
duced again, a malaria epidemic, and increased NKVD interference. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Concluding that most of the people would die if they stayed in the 
USSR, he decided to evacuate the whole army to Iran. He did so de- 
spite Sikorski's order to leave part of it in USSR "for reasons of high 
politics," that is, good Polish-Soviet relations, and to enter Poland to- 
gether with the Red Army. However, in May-June, when German vic- 
tories threatened Egypt, Churchill pressed for the transfer of the Polish 
divisions to the Middle East. Anders telegraphed Stalin on 31 July, 
thanking him for approving the plan to move the Polish Army to Iran 
and appealing for renewed conscription in the USSR to supplement its 
number. There was, however, no further recruitment. 

• 100 • 

Telegram from Mikhail Koptelov, Consul General of the USSR in Pahlavi, 
:o Stalin on the Completion of the Polish Army's Evacuation from the USSR 247 
5 September 1942, Pahlavi, Iran 

Cipher Telegram 
Top Secret 
Making copies prohibited 
No. 18105 
Special no. 52 

[To] Moscow, copy Tehran 

The evacuation of Poles from the [Soviet] Union ended on 1 September 

A total of 69, 917 persons arrived at Pahlavi. Among them [were]: 

1. military — 41,103 persons 

2. civilians — 28,814 persons 

By 4 September 1942, 34,985 persons were transported from Pahlavi 
[to Tehran], of these: 

1. military — 25,424 persons 

2. civilian — 9,561 persons 

In the last few days, the departures from Pahlavi were intensified, and 
on average from 1,300 up to 1,600 persons departed daily. An increase in 
transportation is expected in order to accelerate the transfer of Poles from 
Pahlavi. Up to 4 September, 239 persons died of various diseases. The fol- 
lowing epidemic diseases were noted: 2 cases of typhus and 29 cases of ty- 
phoid fever. People suffer most of all from malaria and colitis. 248 

5 September 194 1 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Distribution: Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Mikoyan, Beria, 
Vyshinsky, Dekanozov, Lozovsky, and Sobolev 

In summer 1942, Polish workers employed by the German labor or- 
ganization Todt (named after its head, Fritz Todt) were working in the 
Koze Gory [German: Kosogory] area near Smolensk. They heard from 
local Russians about mass Polish graves in nearby Katyn Forest, found 
some military items, and placed two wooden crosses there. Lieutenant 
(later Colonel) Friedrich Ahrens, commander of the 537th Signals 
Regiment of German Army Group Center (AGC), stationed in the 
NKVD dacha adjacent to Katyn Forest, allegedly heard of wolf tracks 
and human bones there, and ordered some digging. A mass grave was 
discovered, and Ahrens reported this to the AGC headquarters. On 29 
March the AGC command ordered the graves to be opened and the 
number of victims and the circumstances of their deaths to be deter- 
mined. On 10- 1 1 April a delegation including Polish intellectuals 
from German Poland visited Katyn and, on their return, radioed a re- 
port via the Home Army to the Polish government in London. On n- 
12 April the first German report was broadcast from Berlin, but it was 
the Berlin radio broadcast on 13 April about the discovery of graves 
containing the corpses of thousands of Polish officers and pointing the 
finger at the USSR that was picked up by world media. 


Radio Communique on the Discovery of Graves of Polish Officers 
in the Smolensk Area 
13 April 1943, Berlin, 9:15 a.m. 249 

It is reported from Smolensk that the local population has indicated to 
the German authorities a place in which the Bolsheviks had secretly per- 
petrated mass executions and where the GPU had murdered 10,000 Polish 
officers. 250 The German authorities inspected the place called Kosogory, 
which is a Soviet summer resting place [resort], situated 16 kilometers 
west of Smolensk, and made the most horrific discovery. A great pit was 
found, 28 meters long and 16 meters wide, filled with twelve layers of 
bodies of Polish officers, numbering about 3, 000. 251 They were clad in 
full military uniform, and while some of them had their hands tied, all of 
them had wounds in the back of their skull caused by pistol shots. The 
identification of the bodies will not cause great difficulties, because of the 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

mummifying property of the soil and because the Bolsheviks had left on 
the bodies the identity documents of the victims. It has already been ascer- 
tained that among the murdered is General Smorawihski from Lublin. 
These officers had been previously in Kozielsk [Kozelsk], near Orel, 252 
from whence they had been brought in cattle wagons to Smolensk in Feb- 
ruary and March 1940 and, further on, taken in lorries to Kosogory, 
where all were murdered by the Bolsheviks. 253 

The discovery of and search for further grave pits is taking place. Under 
layers dug up already, new layers are found. The total figure of the mur- 
dered officers is estimated at 10,000, which would more or less corre- 
spond to the entire number of Polish officers taken as POWs by the Bol- 
sheviks. Norwegian press correspondents who arrived to inspect the 
place, and with their own eyes could ascertain the truth, have reported 
about the crime to the Oslo newspapers. 

The Soviet government promptly denied responsibility and accused 
the Germans of carrying out the massacre. This was repeated in all of- 
ficial Soviet statements on Katyn until 13 April 1990. 

• 102 • 

Communique Issued by the Sovinformburo Attacking the German 
is" about the Graves of Polish Officers in Katyn Forest 254 
15 April 1943, Moscow 

Vile Fabrications by German-Fascist Murderers 

In the past two or three days Goebbels's slanderers have been spreading 
vile fabrications alleging that Soviet authorities effected a mass shooting 
of Polish officers in the spring of 1940, in the Smolensk area. In launching 
this monstrous invention, the German-Fascist scoundrels do not hesitate 
at the most unscrupulous and base lies in their attempt to cover up crimes 
which, as has now become evident, were perpetrated by themselves. 

The German-Fascist reports on this subject leave no doubt as to the 
tragic fate of the former Polish POWs who in 194 1 were engaged in con- 
struction work in areas west of Smolensk and who, along with many So- 
viet people, residents of the Smolensk region, fell into the hands of the 
German-Fascist hangmen in the summer of 1941, after the withdrawal of 
Soviet troops from the Smolensk area. 255 

Beyond doubt Goebbels's slanderers are now trying by lies and calum- 
nies to cover up the bloody crimes of the Hitlerite gangsters. In their clum- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


sily concocted fabrication about the numerous graves which the Germans 
allegedly discovered near Smolensk, the Hitlerite liars mention the village 
of Gnezdovaya. But, like the swindlers they are, they are silent about the 
fact that it was near the village Gnezdovaya that the archaeological exca- 
vations of the historic "Gnezdovaya burial place" were made. 256 

Past masters in such affairs, the Hitlerites stoop to the clumsiest forg- 
eries and misrepresentation of facts in spreading slanderous fabrications 
about some sort of Soviet atrocities allegedly perpetrated in the spring of 
1940 and, in this way, try to shake off their own responsibility for the bru- 
tal crimes they have committed. 

These arrant German-Fascist murders [murderers], whose hands are 
stained with the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent victims, who 
methodically exterminate the populations of countries they have occupied 
without sparing children, women, or old people, who exterminated many 
hundreds of thousands of Polish citizens in Poland itself, will deceive no 
one by their base lies and slander. 

The Hitlerite murderers will not escape a just and inevitable retribution 
for their bloody crimes. 

The German radio announcement on the Katyn graves led to out- 
rage in German Poland, whence the accounts of the first Poles to visit 
the site were radioed by the Home Army Command to the Polish gov- 
ernment in London. There was also outrage in the Polish Army in the 
Middle East, which had come out of the USSR. Its commander, Gen- 
eral Anders, demanded that the Polish government obtain an official 
Soviet explanation of the Katyn graves. When Churchill warned Sikor- 
ski on 15 April 1943 against raising the Katyn issue publicly, the gen- 
eral replied that the Polish government was forced to take a stand. The 
Polish defense minister, General Marian Kukiel, issued a long state- 
ment on 16 April detailing all the inquiries that had been made of the 
Soviet government about the missing officers and stating the Polish 
government had approached the International Red Cross to investi- 
gate the massacre. The formal statement on this matter, designed to 
balance the Kukiel statement by emphasizing German crimes, was is- 
sued by the Polish government the next day, 17 April, when it also 
made a formal request to the IRC in Geneva. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

■ 103 • 

Statement of the Polish Government Concerning the Discovery 
of the Graves of Polish Officers near Smolensk 
17 April 1943, London 

No Pole can help but be deeply shocked by the news, now given the 
widest publicity by the Germans, of the discovery of the bodies of Polish 
officers missing in the USSR in a common grave near Smolensk, and of the 
mass execution of which they were victims. 

The Polish government has instructed their representatives in Switzer- 
land to request the IRC in Geneva to send a delegation to investigate the 
true state of affairs on the spot. It is to be desired that the findings of this 
protective institution, which is to be entrusted with the task of clarifying 
the matter and of establishing responsibility, should be issued without de- 

At the same time, however, the Polish government, on behalf of the Pol- 
ish nation, denies to the Germans any right to base on a crime they ascribe 
to others, arguments in their own defense. The profoundly hypocritical in- 
dignation of German propaganda will not succeed in concealing from the 
world the many cruel and reiterated crimes still being perpetrated against 
the Polish people. 

The Polish government recalls such facts as the removal of Polish offi- 
cers from prisoner-of-war camps in the Reich and the subsequent shooting 
of them for political offenses alleged to have been committed before the 
war; mass arrests of reserve officers subsequently deported to concentra- 
tion camps, to die a slow death — from Krakow and the neighboring dis- 
trict alone, 6,000 were deported in June 1942; the compulsory enlistment 
in the German Army of Polish prisoners of war from territories illegally in- 
corporated in the Reich; the forcible conscription of about 200,000 Poles 
from the same territories, and the execution of families of those who man- 
aged to escape; the massacre of one and a half million people by execu- 
tions or in concentration camps; the recent imprisonment of 80,000 peo- 
ple of military age, officers and men, and their torture and murder in the 
camps of Maydanek and Tremblinka [Treblinka]. 257 

It is not to enable the Germans to make impudent claims and pose as the 
defenders of Christianity and European civilization that Poland is making 
immense sacrifices, fighting, and enduring suffering. The blood of Polish 
soldiers and Polish citizens, wherever it is shed, cries for atonement before 
the conscience of the free peoples of the world. The Polish government 
condemn[s] all the crimes committed against Polish citizens and refuse[s] 
the right to make political capital of such sacrifices, to all who are them- 
selves guilty of such crimes. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

Stalin had been planning to break off relations with the Polish gov- 
ernment for some time before late April 1943. On the eve of the Ger- 
man surrender at Stalingrad (31 January 1943), he told the pro-Soviet 
Polish communist Wanda Wasilewska that he expected Polish-Soviet 
relations to break down. She agreed with his view that a new Polish au- 
thority should be established in the USSR — which she had advocated 
for some time — and that a newspaper called Wolna Polska [Free Poland] 
would appear by 1 March. Stalin suggested both the name of the news- 
paper and the name of the new Polish organization: Zwiazek Patri- 
otow Polskich w ZSSR [ZPP— Union of Polish Patriots in the USSR]. 
Thus, when the Polish government in London requested the IRC to 
conduct an investigation of the Katyn massacre and the German Red 
Cross made the same (formal) request on the same day, Stalin used this 
as a pretext to break off relations with the Polish government and ac- 
cused it of collaborating with the Germans. (For the meeting between 
Polish Ambassador Tadeusz Romer and Molotov on 25 April 1943, 
see the introduction to Part III.) 

• 104 • 

Note from Molotov to Polish Ambassador Tadeusz Romer on the Soviet 
Government's Decision to Break Off Relations with the Polish Government 258 
25 April 1943, Moscow 

Note of the Soviet Government to the Polish Government 
Mr. Ambassador, 

On behalf of the Government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 
I have the honor to notify the Polish Government of the following: 

The Soviet Government considers the recent behavior of the Polish Gov- 
ernment with regard to the USSR as entirely abnormal, and violating all 
regulations and standards of relations between two Allied States. The 
slanderous campaign hostile to the Soviet Union launched by the German 
Fascists in connection with the murder of the Polish officers, which they 
themselves committed in the Smolensk area on territory occupied by Ger- 
man troops, was at once taken up by the Polish Government and is being 
fanned in every way by the Polish official press. 

Far from offering a rebuff to the vile Fascist slander of the USSR, the 
Polish Government did not even find it necessary to address to the Soviet 
Government any inquiry or request for an explanation on this subject. 259 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Having committed a monstrous crime against the Polish officers, the 
Hitlerite authorities are now staging a farcical investigation, and for this 
they have made use of certain Polish pro-Fascist elements whom they 
themselves selected in occupied Poland, where everything is under Hitler's 
heel, and where no honest Pole can openly have his say. 260 

For the "investigation," both the Polish Government and the Hitlerite 
Government invited the IRC, which is compelled, in conditions of a ter- 
roristic regime, with its gallows and mass extermination of the peaceful 
population, to take part in this investigation farce staged by Hitler. Clearly 
such an "investigation," staged behind the back of the Soviet Govern- 
ment, cannot evoke the confidence of people possessing any degree of 
honesty. 261 

The fact that the hostile campaign against the Soviet Union commenced 
simultaneously in the German and Polish press, and was conducted along 
the same lines, leaves no doubt as to the existence of contact and accord in 
carrying out this hostile campaign between the enemy of the Allies — Hit- 
ler — and the Polish Government. 262 

While the peoples of the Soviet Union, bleeding profusely in a hard 
struggle against Hitlerite Germany, are straining every effort for the defeat 
of the common enemy of the Russian and Polish peoples and of all free- 
dom-loving democratic countries, the Polish Government, to please Hit- 
ler's tyranny, has dealt a treacherous blow to the Soviet Union. 

The Soviet Government is aware that this hostile campaign against the 
Soviet Union is being undertaken by the Polish Government in order to ex- 
ert pressure upon the Soviet Government by making use of the slanderous 
Hitlerite fake for the purpose of wresting from it territorial concessions at 
the expense of the Soviet Ukraine, Soviet Belorussia, and Soviet Lithua- 
nia. 263 

All these circumstances compel the Soviet Government to recognize that 
the present Government of Poland, having slid on the path of accord with 
Hitler's Government, has actually discontinued allied relations with the 
USSR, and has adopted a hostile attitude toward the Soviet Union. 

On the strength of the above, the Soviet Government has decided to 
sever relations with the Polish Government. 

By the time the Soviet government broke off relations with the Pol- 
ish government in London, exhumations were already proceeding at 
Katyn. Extracts from the report of Kazimierz Skarzynski, general sec- 
retary of the Polish Red Cross in the Generalgouvernement (that is, in 
German-occupied Poland), record the first PRC group visit to Katyn in 
mid-April and its refusal to serve German propaganda purposes. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

■ 105a • 

Report by the Secretary of the Polish Red Cross, Kazimierz Skarzyriski, 
on the PRC Technical Commission's Visit to Smolensk and Katyn, 
15-16 April 1943 (Excerpts) 264 
June 1943, Warsaw 

The Introductory Period 

On 9 April 1943 the president of the Polish Red Cross in the home 
country under German occupation, Mr. Waclaw Lachert, 265 was in- 
formed on the telephone by Dr. Heinrich, the delegate of the German Gen- 
eralgouvernement to the Polish Red Cross, 266 that he must come at once 
to a conference at the Bruhl Palace. 267 The president refused, on principle, 
to come immediately, saying he could come in an hour's time, but was told 
that this would be too late, so the conference contents would be commu- 
nicated to him. And, indeed, Dr. Heinrich telephoned the same day at 
1800 hrs. [6 p.m.] that a decision was made at the conference to send a 
delegation to the Smolensk region to see the graves of Polish officers mur- 
dered by the Bolshevik authorities; he mentioned that writers, representa- 
tives of the Principal Welfare Council, 268 the Municipal Administration, 
and others were to participate in the delegation, saying that a place had 
been reserved for the PRC president on the plane due to depart for 
Smolensk at 8 a.m. the next day. The president refused to take part per- 
sonally in the delegation, as well as in the name of the other members of 
the Presidium of the PRC Executive Board, because of the obvious propa- 
ganda character of the whole venture. . . . 

At first, the PRC Executive Board, basing itself on the experience of the 
nearly four-year-long German occupation and German bestiality, reacted 
with great suspicion to all information on Katyn coming from German 
sources. . . . 

On 1 2 April the PRC Executive Board received a report from the writer 
Ferdynand Goetel, about his visit to Katyn. He said that he had seen the 
mass graves and that all indications were that the officers had been mur- 
dered in the period March-April 1940. His account, and those of other 
members of this first group, disposed of the suspicion that the Germans 
had had a hand in the murder. 269 On the morning of 14 April, Dr. [Karl] 
Grundman, from the Warsaw District [German] Propaganda Depart- 
ment, came personally to the PRC office and issued an oral invitation for 
a five-man PRC delegation to fly to Smolensk at 1300 hrs [1 p.m.] the 
same day. At the same time, he indicated that on the same plane, leaving 
Krakow in the morning, were the plenipotentiary of the PRC Executive 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

for the Krakow district, Mr. [Stanislaw] Plappert, his deputy Mr. [Adam] 
Szebesta, and representatives of the clergy nominated by the Prince Met- 
ropolitan. 270 The PRC Executive Board decided that it was advisable 
to send a Technical Commission, free of any propaganda character, to 
Smolensk and nominated four persons, who were to stay at the site if nec- 
essary; also Mr. Skarzyhski, secretary and member of the PRC Executive 
Board. . . . 

During [this board] meeting, I dictated [the decision] by telephone to Dr. 
Grundman for communication to the Krakow [PRC] authorities, with the 
reservation that I would not serve German propaganda and policy goals. 

[On 14 April] at 1300 hours [1 p.m.] I went to the [Warsaw] Okecie air- 
port with the appointed members of the Technical Commission, Messrs. 
L. [Ludwik] Rojkiewicz, J. [Jerzy] Wodzinowski, S. [Stefan] Kolodziejski, 
and Dr. [Hugon] Bartoszewski. We flew off to Smolensk at 1500 hrs. [3 
p.m.] . . . The PRC group was joined by Father [Stanislaw] Jasihski, sent 
by the Prince Metropolitan of Krakow — as it turned out, only to bless the 
corpses — and Dr. [Tadeusz Susz] Pragfowski from Krakow. 271 . . . Aside 
from these two, there were in the plane Mr. Zenzinger from the Krakow 
[German] Propaganda Department, who was the official leader of the del- 
egation; three Germans from the Berlin criminal police, allegedly sent to 
study illegible documents found on the corpses; and three suspicious- 
looking young Poles in the German service, of whom one was an ordinary 
film operator. 

After arriving in Smolensk on 1 5 April, I was able to affirm that the care 
of and direction of work on the officers' graves was in the hands of the lo- 
cal [German Army] propaganda company (Aktivpropagandakompanie), 
[headed by] Lieutenant Slovenzik. This unit, led by front-line officers (the 
lieutenant mentioned above and his deputy, 2nd Lieutenant von Arndt), 
possessed the general characteristics of a military mentality while at the 
same time having the specific character of the military agency of Mr. 
Goebbels's office, with a clearly National Socialist [Nazi] attitude. This 
obliged us to be especially careful in dealing with them. . . . 

The next day, 16 April, we arrived at the site at 9 a.m. The Kozie Gory 
Wood [Russian: Koze Gory] stands a few meters from the road. 272 On the 
clearing between the graves lay the corpses of our officers that had been 
exhumed thus far, and large Red Cross flags were spread out above the 
graves. 273 There was no doubt whatever that we were dealing with a mass 
execution carried out by an experienced executioner's hand. All the 
corpses that I saw had an entry wound from a revolver bullet at the base of 
the skull and an exit wound on the forehead or face. The uniform charac- 
ter of the wounds and the direction of the shots indicate that they were 
made from small arms at the smallest possible distance from the officers, 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

3 13 

who were standing up. Some of the corpses had their arms tied behind 
their backs with strong rope. These were probably men who defended 
themselves. Polish uniforms, badges, decorations, regimental insignia, 
overcoats, trousers, and boots were well preserved despite contact with 
the earth and decomposition. Lower down, deep in the excavated pits, 
there were more layers of corpses, and one could see skulls, legs, hands, 
and backs sticking out of the tightly pressed earth. What was striking was 
the significant percentage of higher ranks (majors, It. colonels, colonels) 
among the corpses. I also viewed the corpses of two generals identified as 
General Smorawiriski and General Bohatyrewicz [Bohaterewicz]. 274 Gen- 
erals' insignia and stripes on the trousers confirm their rank. I think that 
between the older pines, small, self-planted pine trees had grown at the 
site since the time of the murder, which apparently indicates that the exe- 
cutions must have taken place in spring 1940. It is said that a professional 
forester affirmed the same age for the small pines from their roots. I did 
not see the small pines that grew over the graves, for these were already 
open. 275 As for the number of corpses in the common graves, I had the im- 
pression that the io[,ooo]-i 2,000 figure given out by German officers 
was greatly exaggerated. . . . 

In the little hut containing the office, the documents found on the 
corpses are inspected and sorted. The more interesting ones are exhibited 
in glass cases. We acquainted ourselves with some of the documents and 
diaries, all of which break off in the first days of April 1940. 276 After a 
courteous conversation with Professor Buhtz, a criminologist from Wro- 
claw [Breslau], 277 we left for Smolensk. At the last minute, I was again 
asked to speak into the [radio] microphone, and I refused again. To the re- 
quest that I might give at least a private account of my impressions, I 
replied that I was leaving deeply shaken by what I had seen, and that on 
this occasion I must express my full respect for the honest and methodical 
work of the [German] army at the graves. . . . 

[Skarzyhski left three members of the PRC delegation at Katyn. On the 
morning of 17 April, on his return to Warsaw, he reported to the PRC Ex- 
ecutive Board. At the same meeting, on the basis of his report, the PRC Ex- 
ecutive Board decided to declare that it was ready to begin work at Katyn 
and awaited written permission of the German authorities — given orally 
by a representative of the Generalgouvernement at a meeting in Krakow 
on 22 April. After the PRC board meeting on 17 April, Skarzyhski had to 
give a report on his trip that same day to Heinrich and Grundman, but re- 
fused their demand that he grant press interviews or write a letter to be 
published in the press. An extract of the protocol of the PRC board meet- 
ing was sent to Heinrich, who had angrily demanded an official report.] 

Around noon the same day [17 April], in the office of the director of one 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

of the Warsaw banks, I made an oral report on my trip to the commis- 
sioner of civilian warfare, attached to the underground office of the dele- 
gate of the Polish government. 278 

[The PRC Executive Board sent a summary report to the IRC in Geneva, 
which was acknowledged by the IRC president, Max Hubert, on 22 April 
I943-1 279 

On the basis of Skarzyhski's report, a second, larger group, called 
the PRC Technical Commission, went to Katyn to join the three origi- 
nal members, left there in mid- April, in the work of identifying the ex- 
humed bodies. The second group arrived on 19 April and was joined 
by new members on 27-28 April, making a total of twelve, though not 
all were there the whole time. The commission worked until 7 June 
1943, the stop date decreed by German authorities three days earlier 
because of the heat. The other reason was, of course, Soviet air attacks 
on Smolensk and its vicinity. 

• 105b • 

Report of the Polish Red Cross Technical Commission on Its Work 
in Katyn, April-June 1943 (Excerpts) 280 
June 1943, Warsaw 

The commission, provisionally consisting of three persons, began work 
on 17 April; the work was divided as follows: 

1 ) Mr. Ludwik Rojkiewicz — examination of documents in the Secretariat 
of the [German] Field Police. 

2) Messrs. Stefan Kolodziejski and [Dr.] Jerzy Wodzinowski — the search 
for and securing of documents [found] on the corpses in Katyn Wood. 

However, on that day work was interrupted by the arrival of a delega- 
tion of Polish officers held in German prisoner-of-war camps. 281 

. . . The work was divided [among the commission members] as fol- 

a) one member [to be present] at the exhumation of the corpses 

b) two members at the searching of the corpses and removal of docu- 

c) one member at the verification of the successive number of corpses, 
[which were] then carried to the new, coterminous grave 

d) one member at the new burial of the corpses 

e) two to three members at the reading of the documents 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


f ) From 28 April, i.e., from the moment of the arrival of more commis- 
sion members . . . Dr. Wodzihski, with the help of laboratory workers 
from the Krakow Prosektorium [Dissecting Room], carried out detailed 
inspections of those corpses which could not be identified from docu- 
ments [found on them]. 282 

The further course of the work was as follows: 

a) digging up the corpses and bringing them to the surface 

b) extracting documents 

c) inspection of unidentified corpses by a doctor 

d) burial of corpses 

Every day, the work lasted from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., with an hour and a 
half break for dinner. 

The commission affirms that the extraction of the corpses was very dif- 
ficult because they were tightly pressed together [and] thrown chaotically 
into the pits. Some had their hands tied behind their backs, some had their 
coats taken off and thrown over their heads; at the same time, the coat was 
tied around the neck with a rope and the hands were also tied behind the 
back, and this rope was tied to the one pulling the coat around the neck. 
Corpses tied up in this way were found mainly in one special pit filled with 
subsoil water, from which the commission members themselves extracted 
forty-six victims. Given the onerous conditions of this work, the German 
military authorities wanted to fill in this grave. 

In just one pit, 600 corpses were found placed face down in equal rows. 

The lack of an adequate number of [special] gloves caused great diffi- 
culty. . . . The extraction of the corpses was carried out by local inhabi- 
tants, rounded up to do the work by the German authorities. The corpses, 
carried out of the pits on stretchers, were placed sequentially alongside 
each other, and the procedure for finding documents was for two workers 
to search each corpse individually in the presence of one PRC Commission 
member. The workers cut open all the pockets, took out the contents, and 
handed all the items found to the commission member. Both the docu- 
ments and [other] objects were placed in envelopes marked with the se- 
quential number, and the same number, engraved on a small metal plate, 
was attached to the corpse. In order to carry out a more rigorous search 
for documents, even underwear and boots were cut open. If no documents 
or memorabilia were found, monograms — if present — were cut out from 
the clothes or underwear. . . . 

[These items were put in envelopes and taken to the German Field Police 
Office (Secretariat), where the contents were inspected, with PRC mem- 
bers present. Names and contents were written down by a German officer 
in German, preserving the number if given earlier to the corpse, so the 
PRC Commission did not give these envelopes new numbers. Corpses that 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

could not be identified were marked "unknown." Some documents were 
taken by the Germans for translation into German.] 

After writing down the contents of each envelope on a sheet of paper, 
the documents and [other] objects were placed in a new envelope marked 
with the same number and listing its contents. This was done by the Ger- 
mans. The inspected, segregated, and numbered envelopes were then 
placed sequentially in [wooden] chests. . . . 283 

The total number of exhumed corpses was 4,z4i, 284 and they were re- 
buried in six new coterminous graves dug near the murder pits. An excep- 
tion was made for the two generals, who now lie in separate, individual 
graves. The terrain on both sides of the [new] coterminous graves is low- 
lying and wet, but the graves themselves are located in an elevated, dry, 
sandy place. The size and depth of some of the graves is not uniform ow- 
ing to the features of the terrain and the technical difficulties that arose 
during the work. The bottoms of the [new] graves are completely dry, and 
each one, depending on its size and depth, contains several rows of 
corpses, with several layers in every row. The upper layers were placed at 
a depth of at least one meter below the terrain, so that after filling in the 
graves up to at least one meter above the surrounding terrain, the upper 
layers are covered with two meters of earth. All the [new] graves are flat in 
shape but have a uniform height and are framed with sod on the sides. A 
cross of planed wood two and a half meters high was placed on each 
grave, with a few forest flowers planted at the foot of each. On the surface 
of each grave, there is a large cross made of sod. The graves were num- 
bered in the [same] sequence as they were filled in, with the aim of retain- 
ing the number sequence of the buried corpses. The corpses are placed 
with their heads to the east, one alongside the other, with the heads a little 
higher, and the arms folded on the chest. Each layer of corpses so arranged 
was covered with earth up to 20-30 centimeters high. In graves I, II, III, 
and IV the corpses were arranged beginning from the right-hand side be- 
cause they were carried into the graves from the left-hand side. A list of 
numbers for corpses buried in each grave is attached to this report, as is 
the layout of the cemetery, which occupies an area of 60 by 36 — i.e., 
2,160 square meters. . . . 285 

In summing up the above, the commission states that: 

1) The corpses taken out of the pits were in a state of decomposition so 
that [physical] identification was impossible. However, the uniforms were 
in quite good condition, especially all metal parts, such as rank insignia, 
medals, eagles, buttons, etc. 

2) The cause of death was a shot directed at the base of the skull. 

3 ) From documents found on the corpses, it is evident that the murders 
took place in the period from the end of March to the beginning of May 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


4) The work at Katyn took place under the constant supervision of Ger- 
man authorities, who attached sentries to each group of commission 
members working there. 

5 ) All the work was done by members of the PRC Technical Commission, 
German authorities, and inhabitants of adjoining villages, numbering 
twenty-thirty persons per day. Bolshevik POWs, also sent in the number 
of fifty per day, were employed solely in digging and then filling in the 
coterminous graves and in planting the terrain. 

6) In general, work conditions were very difficult and nervously exhaust- 
ing. The decomposing bodies and the air polluted by them created a very 
difficult atmosphere for the work. 

7) The frequent arrival of various delegations, daily visits to the area by 
significant numbers of [German] military, the dissection of corpses carried 
out by German doctors and members of visiting delegations, complicated 
work that was already difficult enough. . . . 

From the bullets extracted from the corpses of the officers and from the 
cartridge cases found in the sand, it can be affirmed that the shots came 
from small arms of 7.65-mm caliber. They seem to be of German origin. 
Fearing that the Bolsheviks might utilize this fact, the German authorities 
did all they could to see to it that no bullet or cartridge case was hidden by 
the PRC Commission members. This order was naive and its execution 
impossible. In any case, trusted NKVD officials carrying out the Katyn 
murder could have had small arms of all kinds of origin. 287 

As of now, the PRC Executive Board has not yet received from Dr. 
Wodzihski the full results of examining the corpses at Katyn. 288 From his 
report, made after the extraction of the first 1,700 corpses, it is evident 
that despite the rotting decomposition, which led, owing to the sandy-clay 
nature of the terrain, to the partial mummification of the upper layers of 
corpses, and in the deeper layers to the so-called fat-wax transformation, 
in 98 percent of cases it was possible to ascertain that the shots entered the 
region of the base of the skull, exiting in the forehead, top of the skull, or 
face; in 5 percent of cases, there was a repeat shot into the base of the skull, 
and in 1.5 percent a shot or shots in the neck. It seems very likely that the 
final figures will not diverge much from the above. Worthy of note will be 
data on the number of corpses with hands and necks tied with rope, and 
the number stabbed to death with bayonets. 289 

The PRC Technical Commission's report mentions only in passing that 
its members exhumed forty-six corpses with their own hands from a wa- 
ter-filled pit. This was a pit that I saw myself when I was in Katyn. It was 
part of the lower edge of one of the seven large grave pits, which seemed to 
descend terrace-like down to the low-lying terrain. It was filled with 
brown, subsoil water, from which parts of corpses stuck out. The Ger- 
mans promised to supply pumps for the exhumation, but it [the grave] 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

stayed untouched until the last days of work. One day Mr. Wodzinowski 
ascertained that Russian workers began to fill in the pit. He stopped this 
work at once and learned from Lieutenant Slovenzik that the [German] 
Army could not supply the pumps because of constant Soviet air attacks 
and the permanent fire watch ordered for the whole region, while the 
workers could not be required to carry out this kind of exhumation. At 
that moment, five PRC Commission members headed by Mr. Wodzi- 
nowski went down into the pit and, in eighteen hours of work, extracted 
the corpses of forty-six Polish officers from the water. 290 

In dutifully emphasizing this handsome deed of our commission mem- 
bers, I will, in concluding the report on the PRC participation in the ex- 
humation work at Katyn, cite a sentence from the speech by the president 
of the PRC Main Executive Board at a meeting with the representatives of 
Polish society in Warsaw, on 14 May 1943: 

The history of Poland is marked by graves 
but there has never been a grave like this . . . 

Kazimierz Skarzyhski 
Warsaw, June 1943 

The Red Army liberated Smolensk from the Germans on 25 Septem- 
ber 1943. The Soviet Special State Commission that investigated the 
massacre in January 1944 was named after its chairman, academician 
Nikolai Burdenko, the chief surgeon of the Red Army and an expert in 
brain operations. The commission members met first in Moscow and 
then worked at Katyn on 18-23 January 1944. Medical experts ex- 
amined 925 corpses, then drafted their report, stating that before the 
German capture of Smolensk, there were three special camps named 
"No. 1 — ON, No. 2 — ON, and No. 3 — ON," all of which were lo- 
cated — they said — 25 kilometers west of Smolensk. The total number 
of victims was given as 11,000 and the conclusion was that the Ger- 
mans had murdered the Polish officers in July-September 194 1 (the 
time was later changed to fall 194 1 ) . Among other things, the commis- 
sion report accused the Germans of "preparing" the graves by remov- 
ing all documents dated after April 1940. 

In fact, a special NKVD group worked on the graves between Sep- 
tember 1943 and early January 1944. They prepared the corpses for ex- 
amination, "finding" some letters and other documents allegedly dated 
after spring 1940, and "inspired" local Russians to testify as witnesses 
before the Burdenko Commission, which simply confirmed all the in- 
formation and conclusions contained in the Merkulov-Kruglov report. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Burdenko allegedly admitted just before his death in 1946 that, as a 
doctor, he knew the graves were four years old, which would date them 
to 1940, and that he believed the NKVD had made a great blunder. 


The Burdenko Commission Report (Excerpts) 29 
24 January 1944, Moscow 

Statement of the Forensic Medical Appraisal 

By order of the Special Commission created to establish and investigate 
the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Polish prisoner-of-war of- 
ficers by the German-Fascist aggressors in the Katyn Forest (near the city 
of Smolensk), an expert forensic medical commission . . . , during the pe- 
riod from 16 to 23 January 1944, conducted an exhumation and forensic 
medical examination of the corpses of the Polish POWs buried in graves 
on the territory of Koze Gory in the Katyn Forest, 1 5 kilometers from the 
city of Smolensk. The corpses of the Polish POWs had been buried in a 
common grave measuring approximately 60 x 60 x 3 meters and, in addi- 
tion, in a separate grave measuring approximately 7x6x3.5 meters. 292 
Exhumed and examined from the graves were 925 corpses. 

The exhumation and forensic medical examination of the corpses was 
performed in order to establish: 

a) the identities of the deceased; 

b) the causes of death; 

c) how long ago they were buried. 

For the circumstances of the case, see materials of the Special Commis- 
sion [not included]. 

For the objective facts, see the depositions from the forensic medical ex- 
aminations of the corpses. . . . 


The expert forensic medical commission, basing itself on the results of the 
forensic medical examination of the corpses, has arrived at the following 

Upon uncovering the graves and extracting the corpses from them, the 
following was established: 

a) among the corpses of Polish POWs there are corpses in civilian dress, 
but their number compared to the total number of corpses investigated is 
negligible (2 of 925 extracted corpses), and the corpses were wearing mil- 
itary-style boots; 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

b) the clothing on the corpses of the POWs attests that they belonged to the 
officer and partially to the rank-and-file contingent of the Polish Army; 293 

c) the slits in the pockets and boots discovered during examination of 
the clothing, as well as the pockets turned inside out and torn, show that 
all the clothing on each corpse (overcoat, pants, and felt boots), as a rule, 
bears the traces of a search having been performed on the corpses; 

d) in some instances, during the examination of the clothing the intact- 
ness of pockets was noted. In these pockets, as well as in the slit and torn 
pockets, under the lining of the tunics, in the trouser waistbands, and in 
the foot bindings and socks, torn out pages were found from newspapers, 
brochures, prayer books, postal stamps, open and closed letters, receipts, 
notes, and other documents, as well as valuables (gold bullion, gold dol- 
lars), pipes, penknives, cigarette papers, handkerchiefs et al.; 294 

e) in some of the documents (even without special research), upon ex- 
amination, dates were established that pertained to the period from iz 
November 1940 to zo June 194 1; 295 

f ) the fabric of the clothing, especially of the overcoats, tunics, trousers, 
and overshirts, was well preserved and was very difficult to tear with the 

g) a very small number of the corpses (zo of 9Z5) had their hands tied 
behind their torsos with white braided cord. 296 

The condition of the clothing on the corpses — specifically, the fact that 
the tunics, shirts, belts, trousers, and long underwear were buttoned, the 
boots were on, the scarves and ties were tied around the necks, the braces 
were fastened, and the shirts were tucked into the trousers — attests that 
no external examination of the torsos and extremities of the corpses had 
been made previously. 

The state of preservation of the skin coverings on the head and the ab- 
sence on them, as well as on the coverings of the chest and belly (except for 
3 cases out of 9Z5), of any kind of incisions, slits, or other signs of expert 
activity indicate that no forensic medical examination of the corpses was 
ever done, judging by the corpses exhumed by the expert forensic medical 

External and internal examinations of the 9Z5 corpses provide grounds 
for asserting the presence of bullet wounds to the head and neck, in four 
cases combined with injury to the skull with a blunt, hard, heavy object. 
Moreover, in an insignificant number of cases, injury to the belly was dis- 
covered that was simultaneous [with injury] to the head wound. 

Entry wounds for firearm injuries, as a rule, are singular, more rarely 
double, and located in the nape area of the head close to the occiput, [that 
is,] the large occipital opening, or at its edge. In a small number of cases, 
the bullet entry wounds are found on the rear surface of the neck, corre- 
sponding to cervical vertebrae 1, z, and 3. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Exit wounds were usually found in the frontal area, more rarely in the 
occipital and temporal areas, as well as on the face and neck. In twenty- 
seven cases, the bullet wounds proved blind (without exit wounds), and at 
the end of the bullet trajectories, under the soft coverings of the skull, in its 
bones, in the brain membranes and matter, deformed, weakly deformed, 
and completely non-deformed cased bullets, the kind used in shooting au- 
tomatic pistols, primarily 7.65-mm, were found. 

The sizes of the entry wounds on the occipital bone permit the conclu- 
sion that two calibers of firearms were used in the executions: in the over- 
whelming majority of cases, smaller than 8-mm, that is, 7.65-mm or less; 
in a lesser number, larger than 8-mm, that is, 9-mm. 

The nature of the fissures in the cranial bones and the discovery in a few 
cases of powder traces near the entry wound suggest that the shots were 
fired at point-blank or nearly point-blank range. 

The relative positions of the entry and exit wounds show that the shots 
were fired from behind while the head was bowed forward. In the process, 
the bullet passed through or close to vitally important sections of the 
brain, and the destruction of brain tissue was the cause of death. 

Injuries to the parietal bones of the cranium made with a blunt, hard, 
heavy object were concurrent with the bullet wounds to the head but were 
not in and of themselves the cause of death. 

Forensic medical examination of the corpses performed during the pe- 
riod from 16 to 23 January 1944 attests that there were absolutely no 
corpses in a state of rotting disintegration or destruction. 297 All the 925 
corpses are in a state of preservation — in the initial stage of moisture loss 
by the corpse (which was expressed most often and acutely in the area of 
the chest and belly, sometimes also in the extremities); that is, the initial 
stage of adipocere [or] an acute degree of adipocere in corpses taken from 
the bottom of the graves), [or] a combination of dehydration of the corpses' 
tissues and the formation of adipocere. 298 

Worthy of special attention is the circumstance that the muscles of the 
torsos and extremities completely preserved their macroscopic structure 
and almost their usual color; the internal organs of the chest and abdomi- 
nal cavities retained their configuration; in many cases, sections of the 
heart muscle showed a clearly distinguishable structure and its normal 
coloration, and the brain presented the characteristic structural features 
with a distinctly expressed boundary between gray and white matter. Be- 
sides the macroscopic examination of the tissues and organs of the corpses, 
the expert forensic medical analysis removed the appropriate material for 
subsequent microscopic and chemical research under laboratory condi- 

The qualities of the soil at the place of their discovery had definite sig- 
nificance in the preservation of the tissues and organs of the corpses. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Upon the opening of the graves and the removal of the corpses and their 
exposure to the air, they were subjected to the effect of warmth and hu- 
midity in the spring-summer period of 1943. This may have caused the 
acute development in the process of decomposition of the corpses. 

However, the degree of desiccation of the corpses and the formation of 
adipocere in them, the particularly good state of preservation of the mus- 
cles and internal organs, as well as of the clothing, give us grounds to as- 
sert that the corpses had been in the soil for a brief time. 

Comparing the condition of the corpses in the graves on the territory of 
Koze Gory with the condition of corpses in other places of burial in the 
city of Smolensk and its closest environs — in Gedeonovka, Magalen- 
shchina, Readovka, camp no. 126, Krasny Bor, etc. (see the report of ex- 
pert forensic medical analysis dated 22 October 1943 ) 299 — we can prop- 
erly say that the burial of the corpses of the Polish POWs on the territory 
of Koze Gory was carried out approximately two years ago. This finds full 
confirmation in the discovery in the clothing on the corpses of documents 
that exclude earlier dates of burial (see point "d" under Article 36 and the 
list of documents). 300 

On the basis of the data and research results, the expert forensic medical 

considers the act of killing by means of execution of POWs and officers 
and some rank and file of the Polish Army to be an established fact; 

asserts that this execution pertains to a period of time approximately 
two years ago, that is between September and December 194 1; 

sees in the fact of the discovery by the expert forensic medical commis- 
sion in the corpses' clothing of valuables and documents with the date 
194 1 as proof that the German-Fascist authorities who undertook a 
search of the corpses in the spring-to-summer period of 1943 did not per- 
form it carefully, and the discovered documents attest that the execution 
was carried out after June 194 1; 

concludes that in 1943 the Germans dug up an extremely insignificant 
number of corpses of executed Polish POWs; 301 

notes the full identity between the method of execution of the Polish 
POWs and the method of execution of peaceful Soviet citizens and Soviet 
POWs that was widely practiced by the German-Fascist authorities on the 
temporarily occupied territory of the USSR, including in the cities of Smo- 
lensk, Orel, Kharkov, Krasnodar, and Voronezh. 

Chief Forensic Medicine Expert of the USSR Narkomzdrav 
[People's Commissariat of Health] [and] Director of the State 
Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Medicine of the USSR 
V. I. Prozorovsky 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Professor of Forensic Medicine of the 2nd Moscow State 
Medical Institute and Doctor of Medical Sciences 
V. M. Smolianinov 

Professor of Pathological Anatomy and Doctor of Medical 


D. N. Vyropaev 

Senior Research Associate of the Forensic Medicine Department 
of the State Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Medicine of 
the USSR Narkomzdrav 
Doctor P. S. Semenovsky 

Senior Research Associate in the Forensic Chemical Department 
of the State Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Medicine of 
the USSR Narkomzdrav [and] Senior Lecturer 
M. D. Shvaikova 

Smolensk, 24 January 1944 

Documents Found on the Corpses 

In addition to the facts recorded in the certificate of expert forensic 
medical analysis, the time of the execution by the Germans of the Polish 
officer POWs (fall 1941, and not spring 1940, as the Germans assert) is es- 
tablished also by the documents discovered when the graves were opened, 
documents that pertain not only to the second half of 1940 but also to the 
spring and summer (March-June) of 1941. [Polish names are given here 
with Polish spelling. — AMC] 

Of the documents discovered by the forensic medical experts, the fol- 
lowing merit special attention: 

1. On corpse no. 92: 

A letter from Warsaw addressed to the Red Cross at the Central Pris- 
oner-of-War Bureau, 12 Kuibyshev Street, Moscow. The letter is written in 
the Russian language. In this letter, Zofia Zygoh asks to be informed of the 
place of arrival of her husband Tomasz Zygoh. The letter is dated 12 Sep- 
tember 1940. On the envelope there is a German postal stamp — "War- 
saw, September 1940" — and a postmark, "Moscow, Post Office, Dis- 
patch Office 9, 28 September 1940," and an instruction in red ink in the 
Russian language: "Request to establish the camp and direct for delivery. 
15 November 1940" (signature illegible). 302 

2. On corpse no. 4: 

A postcard, registered no. 01 12, from Tarnopol with the postmark 
"Tarnopol, 12 November 1940." 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

A manuscript text and a faded address. 

3. On corpse no. 101: 

Receipt no. 10293, dated 19 December 1939, issued by Kozelsk camp 
upon receipt of a gold watch from Edward Lewandowski. On the reverse 
of the receipt there is a notation dated 14 March 1941 on the sale of this 
watch to Glaviuvelirtorg [Main Jewelry Trade Commission]. 

4. On corpse no. 46: 

A receipt (no. illegible), issued on 16 December 1939 by Starobelsk 
camp upon receipt of a gold watch from Wlodzimierz Araszkiewicz. On 
the reverse of the receipt there is a note dated 25 March 1941 about the 
watch being sold to Glaviuvelirtorg. 

5. On corpse no. 71: 

A paper icon depicting Christ, discovered between pages 144 and 145 
of a Catholic prayer book. On the reverse of the icon there is an inscrip- 
tion on which there is a legible signature, "Jadwiga," and a date, "4 April 

6. On corpse no. 46: 

A receipt dated 6 April 1941, issued by Camp no. 1 — ON, on the re- 
ceipt from Araszkiewicz of money in the amount of 225 rubles. 

7. On the same corpse no. 46: 

A receipt dated 5 May 1941, issued by Camp no. 1 — ON, on the receipt 
from Araszkiewicz of money in the amount of 102 rubles. 

8. On corpse no. 101: 

A receipt dated 18 May 1941, issued by Camp no. 1 — ON, on the re- 
ceipt from E. Lewandowski of money in the amount of 175 rubles. 

9. On corpse 53: 

An unsent postcard in the Polish language addressed to: Irena Kuczyri- 
ska, 15 Bagatela, Apt. 47, Warsaw. Dated 20 June 1941. Sender, Stanisiaw 
Kuczyhski. 303 

General Conclusions 

From all the materials at the disposal of the Special Commission, specifi- 
cally, the testimony above of the hundred witnesses it questioned, 304 the 
data from the expert forensic medical analysis, and the documents and 
material proofs taken from the graves in the Katyn Forest, the following 
conclusions emerge with incontrovertible clarity: 

1. The Polish POWs who were in the three camps to the west of Smo- 
lensk and engaged in road construction operations before the beginning of 
the war remained there after the German occupiers invaded Smolensk and 
until September 1941, inclusively. 305 

2. In the Katyn Forest, in the fall of 1941, the German occupational au- 
thorities carried out mass executions of Polish POWs from the above-in- 
dicated camps. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


3 . The mass executions of Polish POWs in the Katyn Forest were carried 
out by the German military institution, which was concealed under the 
conventional designation "Headquarters of the 537th Construction Bat- 
talion," at the head of which stood Oberleutnant Arnes [Ahrens] and his 
associates Oberleutnant Reks [Rekst] and Lieutenant Khott [Hodt]. 306 

4. In connection with the deterioration of the general military and polit- 
ical situation for Germany by early 1943, the German occupational author- 
ities, for purposes of provocation, undertook several measures intended to 
ascribe their own evil deeds to organs of Soviet power, calculating that this 
would sow strife between Russians and Poles. 

5. For these purposes: 

a) the German -Fascist aggressors, by means of persuasion, bribery, 
threats, and barbaric tortures, sought "witnesses" from among the Soviet 
citizens from whom they obtained false testimony on the Polish POWs al- 
legedly having been executed by organs of Soviet power in spring 1940; 307 

b) the German occupational authorities in spring 1943 brought from 
other places the corpses of Polish POWs whom they had executed and laid 
them in the graves dug in the Katyn Forest, calculating that this would 
conceal the traces of their own evil deeds and increase the number of "vic- 
tims of Bolshevik brutalities" in the Katyn Forest; 308 

c) while preparing for their provocation, the German occupational au- 
thorities, for the work of digging up the graves in the Katyn Forest and re- 
moving their documents and material proofs that exposed them, em- 
ployed as many as 500 Russian POWs, who upon completion of this work 
were executed by the Germans. 309 

6. The facts of the expert forensic medical analysis establish without 
any doubt: 

a) the time of the execution — fall 194 1; 

b) the use by the German executioners in the execution of the Polish 
POWs of the same method — a pistol shot to the nape of the neck — that 
they used in their mass murders of Soviet citizens in other cities, in partic- 
ular in Oryol [Orel], Voronezh, Krasnodar, and the same in Smolensk. 310 

7. The conclusions from witness testimony and the expert forensic med- 
ical analysis on the execution by the Germans of Polish POWs in fall 194 1 
are wholly confirmed by the material proofs and documents removed 
from the Katyn graves. 

8. In executing the Polish POWs in the Katyn Forest, the German-Fas- 
cist aggressors were consistently implementing their own policy of physi- 
cally destroying the Slavic peoples. 

[Here are repeated the names of the commission members signed 

Smolensk, Z4 January 1944 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

The Soviet delegation to the International Military Tribunal trials of 
war criminals at Nuremberg charged the Germans with murdering the 
Polish officers at Katyn. Moscow assumed that the Burdenko Com- 
mission report would suffice as proof, because Article 21 of the IMT 
Charter stated that the tribunal would take note of official government 
documents and reports of the United Nations, including acts and doc- 
uments of commissions set up to investigate various crimes. Indeed, 
Soviet Deputy Prosecutor Yuri Pokrovsky read the Burdenko Com- 
mission's "Certificate of Forensic Medical Appraisal" and conclusions 
at the session of 14 February 1946. This report was presented as USSR 

The Western prosecutors rejected the Soviet claim that the report 
was sufficient proof of German guilt. The IMT admitted the request of 
Hermann Goering's defender, Dr. Otto Stahmer, to call German wit- 
nesses for the defense but also the chief Soviet prosecutor's request to 
admit witnesses for the prosecution. At that point, the Soviet Special 
Government Commission for Directing the Nuremberg Trials sent in- 
structions to the Soviet prosecutor at Nuremberg, Roman Rudenko. 

• 107 • 

Instructions on the "Katyn Matter" Sent by the Special Government 
Commission for Directing the Nuremberg Trials to Roman Rudenko, 
Chief Soviet Prosecutor at Nuremberg 
1 5 March 1946, Moscow 

In connection with the decision of the tribunal of 12 March, a letter 
should be sent to the tribunal with the following content: 

On 12 March, the tribunal approved the petition of the defender of the 
accused Gering [Goering], Dr. Stahmer, on calling witnesses to refute 
the accusation that the Germans committed the mass murder of pris- 
oner-of-war Polish officers in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk in Sep- 
tember 1941. 311 

The Soviet prosecutor confirmed the accusation mentioned above by 
presenting the report of the Special Government Commission for Estab- 
lishing and Investigating the Circumstances of the Shooting of Polish 
Prisoner-of-War Officers by the German-Fascist Aggressors in Katyn 
Forest. 312 

According to Art. 21 of the Charter of the IMT, "The Tribunal shall 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


also accept without evidence official government documents and re- 
ports of the United Nations, including acts and documents of commit- 
tees created in various allied countries to investigate war crimes." 

The above-mentioned decision of the tribunal [March 12] represents 
a direct violation of this article of the charter. 

By allowing the contention of evidence that is considered incontro- 
vertible under Art. 21, the tribunal exceeds its authority, since the char- 
ter represents a mandatory law for the tribunal. 

Only the four governments by whose agreement the tribunal's charter 
was passed are competent to make changes in it. 

Allowing the defense the possibility of presenting evidence to repudi- 
ate evidence considered indisputable in Art. 21 deprives this article of 
any meaning. It is obvious that in this case the prosecution will be forced 
to present other evidence in confirmation of evidence mentioned in Art. 
21, whereas the entire intent of this article is that the documents of gov- 
ernmental organs and the United Nations stipulated in it are to be ac- 
cepted by the tribunal without evidence. 

This question has fundamental significance for the entire trial, for the 
tribunal's decision of 12 March constitutes an extremely dangerous 
precedent, since it gives the defense an opportunity to prolong the trial 
indefinitely through attempts to repudiate evidence considered indis- 
putable according to Art. 21. 

Regardless of the considerations of principle set out above, which have 
a fundamental and decisive significance for this question, it is also im- 
possible to pass over in silence the fact that the tribunal considered it 
possible to call as witnesses such individuals as Arnes, Rekst, Khott 313 et 
al., who, as is evident from the report presented to the tribunal, are the 
direct perpetrators of the evil deeds committed by the Germans in Katyn 
and [who], according to the declaration by the heads of the three gov- 
ernments of 1 November 1943, must be tried for their crimes by a court 
of the country on whose territory these crimes were committed. 314 

As a consequence of what has been set out above, I believe it essential 
to insist on the reexamination of the above-mentioned tribunal decision 
because it directly violates the charter of the IMT 

Rudenko must conduct preliminary discussions with the other prosecu- 
tors, stressing the fundamental significance of the procedural violation al- 
lowed by the tribunal and the possibility of the defense using the tribunal's 
decision of 12 March as a precedent, which could seriously affect the en- 
tire further course of the trial. It would be best if we could have the letter 
adduced above sent to the tribunal in the name of the committee of prose- 
cutors. 315 If we cannot get this, it would be desirable to secure the support 
of at least some of the prosecutors. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

If the tribunal still leaves the former decision in force, Rudenko will 
have to declare to the tribunal that the Soviet prosecution [had] limited it- 
self to the publication of only some of the conclusions from the report of 
the Special Commission, since this evidence is indisputable according to 
Art. 21 of the charter. 

Inasmuch as the tribunal has a different point of view, the Soviet prose- 
cution will be compelled, on the basis of Art. 24, point "e," of the char- 
ter- 316 

1. To request that the tribunal attach to the case the entire decision [re- 
port] of the Special Commission and 

2. To present, for its part, to the tribunal additional lists of witnesses 
and experts whose questioning will be essential under the conditions cre- 
ated as a result of the decision taken by the tribunal. 

If Lourens 317 asks whom the Soviet prosecution intends to call and 
when the prosecution will present a list of its witnesses and experts, 
Rudenko must respond that he is compiling information on the where- 
abouts of individuals subject to questioning and, upon receipt of such in- 
formation, will immediately present the list to the tribunal. 

Clarify in detail and report the attitudes toward the case of those named 
in Stahmer's statement: Major General Oberhauser and First Lieutenant 
Berg. 318 

Confirm receipt. 319 

After the Allied prosecutors at Nuremberg agreed that each side 
would present only three witnesses, it was decided in Moscow on 24 
May that three witnesses would be presented for the Soviet side, with 
nominations for two supplementary ones. 

• 108 • 

Meeting of the Soviet Special Government Commission 
for Directing the Nuremberg Trials 
24 May 1946, Moscow 

2625V Secret 

Protocol no. [not given] of the Meeting of the Commission 
for Directing the Nuremberg Trials 

Present: Corns. A. Ya. Vyshinsky, S. N. Kruglov, I. G. Goliakov, N. M. 
Rychkov, G. N. Safonov, L. N. Smirnov, P. I. Bogoyavlensky, L. P. Sheinin, 
and A. N. Trainin 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


I. [They] heard: 

About the preparation and selection of materials on the case of the Ger- 
man provocation in Katyn. 
[They] decided: 

i. To charge the commission consisting of Corns. Raikhman (sum- 
moner) [authorized to call the others together], Sheinin, and A. N. Trainin 
with [the task of] familiarizing themselves in a period of five days with all 
the materials in hand about the German provocation at Katyn and to se- 
lect those documents, which can be used at the Nuremberg trial to un- 
cover the German provocation at Katyn. 

z. That it was appropriate to nominate as witnesses in the Katyn case 
the following persons: 

a) Metropolitan Nikolai 

b) Bazilevsky 

c) Koleznikov (ROKK) 320 

To charge the commission (par. i) to nominate two supplementary wit- 

At the same time, to charge the same commission to secure the sum- 
moning of all the witnesses to Moscow and to agree with Corns. Gor- 
shenin and Rudenko regarding the possible date of the witnesses' arrival 
in Nuremberg. 

II. [They] heard: 

The draft of Com. Nikitchenko's letter to the members of the IMT 
about speeding up the conduct of the Nuremberg Trials procedure. 321 
[They] decided: 

i. That it was appropriate to send Com. Nikitchenko's letter to the 
members of the IMT at Nuremberg. 

z. To agree to the text of the letter with corrections in par. 3 and 5 [let- 
ter not enclosed]. 

Chairman of the Meeting 
A. Vyshinsky 

M. Gribanov 
11 copies 

The Madden Committee — so known after its chairman, Ray Mad- 
den, a Democratic congressman from Illinois — gathered an enormous 
amount of information from witnesses in the United States and Eu- 
rope. It subpoenaed prominent American officials active during the 
war, trying to prove they had willfully suppressed information on 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

Katyn. This they denied — but argued that publicizing the Katyn mas- 
sacre was against the national interest in wartime. The committee is- 
sued its final report in December 1952, placing the blame squarely on 
the Soviet Union and requesting a trial before an international tri- 
bunal. The U.S. government, however, declined to press for such a trial 
because it needed Soviet support to end the Korean War. (For details, 
see the introduction to Part III.) 

• 109 • 

Conclusions of the Congressional Select Committee to Conduc 
an Investigation of the Katyn Forest Massacre (Excerpts) 322 
22 December 1952, Washington, D.C. 

This Committee unanimously finds, beyond any question of reasonable 
doubt, that the Soviet NKVD (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) 
committed the mass murders of the Polish officers and intellectual leaders 
in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk, Russia. 

The evidence, testimony, records, and exhibits recorded by this commit- 
tee in the last nine months, will overwhelmingly show the people of the 
world that Russia is directly responsible for the Katyn massacre. Through- 
out our entire proceedings, there has not been a scintilla of proof or even 
any remote circumstantial evidence presented that could indict any other 
nation of this international crime. 

It is an established fact that approximately 15,000 Polish POWs were 
interned in three Soviet camps: Kozielsk, Starobielsk [sic], and Ostashkov 
in the winter of 1939-1940. With the exception of 400 prisoners, these 
men have not been heard from, seen, or found since the spring of 1940. 
Following the discovery of the graves in 1943, when the Germans occu- 
pied this territory, they [the Germans] claimed there were 11,000 Poles 
buried at Katyn. The Russians recovered the territory from the Germans 
in September 1943, and likewise they stated that 11,000 Poles were buried 
in these mass graves. 323 

Evidence heard by this committee repeatedly points to the certainty that 
only those prisoners interned at Kozielsk were massacred in the Katyn 
Forest. Testimony of the Polish Red Cross officials definitely established 
that 4,143 bodies were actually exhumed from the seven mass graves. 324 
On the basis of further evidence, we are equally certain that the rest of the 
15,000 Polish prisoners — those interned at Starobielsk and Ostashkov — 
were executed in a similar brutal manner. Those from Starobielsk were 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


disposed of near Kharkov, 325 and those from Ostashkov met a similar 
fate. Testimony was presented by several witnesses that the Ostashkov 
prisoners were placed on barges and drowned in the White Sea. 326 Thus 
the committee believes that there are at least two other "Katyns" in Rus- 
sia. . . . 

This committee unanimously recommends that the House of Represen- 
tatives approve the committee's findings and adopt a resolution: 

1. Requesting the president of the United States to forward the testi- 
mony and findings of the committee to the United States delegates at 
the United Nations. 

2. Requesting further that the president of the United States issue in- 
structions to the United States delegates to present the Katyn case to 
the General Assembly of the United Nations. 

3. Requesting that appropriate steps be taken by the General Assembly 
to seek action before the International World Court of Justice against 
the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics for committing a crime at 
Katyn which was in violation of the general principles recognized by 
civilized nations. 

4. Requesting the president of the United States to instruct the United 
States delegation to seek the establishment of an international com- 
mission which would investigate other mass murders and crimes 
against humanity. 327 

Ray Madden, Chairman 
Daniel J. Flood 
Thaddeus M. Machrowicz 
George A. Dondero 
AlvinE. O'Konski 
Timothy P. Sheehan 

In March 1959 the new head of the KGB, Aleksandr Shelepin, wrote 
a note for the Soviet Communist Party leader, Nikita Khrushchev, sug- 
gesting the destruction of the documents on the Polish prisoners shot 
in 1940 but the retention of the protocols of the Troika — Merkulov, 
Kobulov, and Bashtakov — that sentenced them (doc. 47), as well as 
the documents on the implementation of the sentences. 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

■ 110 • 

Note by Shelepin to Khrushchev, 3 March 1959, Proposing to Destroy the Documents 
of the Operation Sanctioned by the Politburo on 5 March 1940 328 
3 March 1959, Moscow 

Special File 
Top Secret 
No. 632-sh[elepin] 

To Comrade Khrushchev, N. S. 

Since 1940, records and other materials regarding prisoners and in- 
terned officers, policemen, gendarmes, [military] settlers, landlords and so 
on, and persons from former bourgeois Poland who were shot in that 
same year have been kept in the Committee of State Security of the Coun- 
cil of Ministers, USSR. On the basis of the decision by the special Troika of 
the NKVD USSR, a total of 21,857 persons were shot; of these, 4,421 
[were shot] in the Katyn Forest (Smolensk Oblast), 3,820 in the camp of 
Starobelsk, close to Kharkov, 6,311 in the camp of Ostashkov (Kalinin 
Oblast), and 7,305 persons were shot in other camps and prisons of west- 
ern Ukraine and western Belorussia. 329 

The whole operation of liquidating the above-mentioned persons was 
carried out on the basis of the decision of the CC CPSU of 5 March 1940. 
All of them were sentenced to the highest order of punishment according 
to the files started for them as POWs and internees in 1939. 

From the time when the above-mentioned operation was carried out, 
that is, from 1940, no information has been released to anybody relating 
to the case, and all of the 21,857 files have been stored in a sealed loca- 
tion. 330 

All these files are of no operational or historical value to Soviet organs. 
It is also highly doubtful whether they could be of any real value to our 
Polish friends. On the contrary, any unforeseen incident may lead to re- 
vealing the operation, with all the undesirable consequences for our coun- 
try, especially since, regarding the persons shot in the Katyn Forest, the 
official version was confirmed by an investigation carried out on the ini- 
tiative of the organs of Soviet authorities in 1944, under the name of the 
"Special Commission to Establish and Investigate the Shooting of Polish 
Prisoner-of-War Officers in Katyn Forest by the German-Fascist Aggres- 

According to the conclusion of that commission, all the Poles liquidated 
there are considered to have been killed by the German occupiers. 331 The 
materials of the inquiry were extensively covered in the Soviet and foreign 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


press. The commission's conclusions became firmly established in interna- 
tional public opinion. 332 

On the basis of the above statements, it seems expedient to destroy all 
the records on the persons shot in 1940 in the above-mentioned opera- 

In order to answer possible questions along the lines of the CC CPSU or 
the Soviet government guidelines, the protocols of the meetings of the 
NKVD USSR Troika that sentenced these persons to be shot, also the doc- 
uments on carrying out this decision, could be preserved. The volume of 
these documents is not large and they could be kept in a special file. 

Attached is the draft of the [relevant] decision by the CC CPSU. 

Chairman of the Committee for State Security of the Council of 
Ministers of USSR 
A. Shelepin 
3 March 1959 


Top Secret 

Draft for the Decision by the Presidium of the CC CPSU 
of [date left blank] 1959 

Empower the State Security Committee of the Council of Ministers, 
USSR, to destroy all the records on the operation carried out in accor- 
dance with the decision of the CC CPSU of 5 March 1940, while preserv- 
ing the protocols of the meetings of the Troika of the NKVD, USSR. 333 

The Soviet government was impelled to act when interest in Katyn 
revived in England and the United States in the early 1970s. In January 
1971 the reprint of J. K. Zawodny's book Death in the Forest (1962) 
led to reviews in the Times of London, which printed correspondence 
on the topic in January-February, as did the Daily Telegraph in 

The declassification of Foreign Office documents for the wartime 
period in 1972 led to more activity in Britain. The pamphlet Katyn — 
Despatches of Sir Owen O'Malley to the British Government ap- 
peared in January, with a foreword by Lord Barnby, chairman of the 
Katyn Memorial Fund, and an introduction by its honorary secretary, 
Louis FitzGibbon. (In 1943 -1944, Owen O'Malley was the British 
ambassador to the Polish government-in-exile.) It contained O'Mal- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

ley's report of 24 May 1943 to Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden, pre- 
senting evidence pointing at Russian guilt, as well as a withering cri- 
tique of the Burdenko Commission report (doc. 106), written for Eden 
on 11 February 1944. Both were reprinted in FitzGibbon's second 
book, The Katyn Cover-Up (London, 1972). The pamphlet was also 
published by the Polish-American Congress in Chicago in 1973. 

The Soviet government, which protested British media coverage of 
the Katyn question in 1971-1972, was even more upset in 1973. A 
fund-raising campaign launched by the KMF in 1972 to build a memo- 
rial to the victims of Katyn in London now bore fruit. The Council 
of the Borough of Kensington-Chelsea offered a location in the long- 
unused cemetery of St. Luke's Anglican Church, Chelsea, which pro- 
voked another Soviet protest. 

• 111 • 

Politburo Resolution and Instruction for the Soviet Ambassador in London 
Regarding the Projected Katyn Monument (Excerpt) 334 
2 March 1973, Moscow 

Top Secret 

To Corns. Brezhnev, Kosygin, Kirilenko, Andropov, 
Ponomarev, Katushev, Gromyko 
Excerpt from Protocol no. 80 of the Politburo CC CPSU 
Session of 2 March 1973 
On the Demarche to the English Government in Connection 
with the Anti-Soviet Campaign Surrounding the Erection in London 
of the So-Called Monument to the Victims of Katyn 

1. Ratify the draft of the instruction on this question to the Soviet am- 
bassador in London (attached). 

2. Instruct the MID [Ministry of Foreign Affairs] USSR to inform the 
Polish friends of our declaration to the English government. 

Secretary CC 

On Point 12 of Protocol no. 80. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Soviet Ambassador 335 

Visit the minister of foreign affairs 336 and, based on the [instructions] 
received, declare the following: 

The British government's attention has already been drawn to the fact 
that attempts are being made in England to fan the anti-Soviet campaign 
about the long-unmasked fictions of Goebbels's propaganda on the so- 
called Katyn Question. In the demarche made by the Soviet MID to the 
British Embassy in Moscow on 13 September 1972 for transmission to the 
British government, it was emphasized that the construction of a "memo- 
rial" to the victims of Katyn, inspired by certain circles, can only provoke 
justified indignation in the Soviet Union. 337 

However, judging by the materials published in the English press, this 
"memorial" provocation has not been stopped so far. In particular, there 
is information that the authorities of the Kensington-Chelsea district of 
London have apparently agreed to the erection of such a "memorial" on 
their territory at St. Luke's Church and have already approved the design. 
What is particularly scandalous — according to reports received — is the 
character of the inscriptions approved for the aforementioned "memor- 
ial." In a coarse manner they distort the historical facts about the real cul- 
prits of the Katyn tragedy. In effect, they reproduce the base inventions put 
about by the Nazis during the Second World War in order to hide the 
bloody crime of the Gestapo murderers, which is known to the whole 
world. 338 

The attitude of the English government on this matter stands in clear 
contradiction to its assurances about [its] efforts to improve relations with 
the Soviet Union. In Moscow, it is expected that the English government 
will take appropriate measures to put an end to this campaign, hostile to 
the Soviet Union, [that is] deployed around the construction of the so- 
called memorial to the victims of Katyn in London. 

Telegraph the implementation [of this instruction]. 

Soviet pressure, combined with British government reluctance and 
the intervention of the Consistory Court of the Church of England led 
to the court's decision in summer 1974 to reject the site offered by the 
Borough of Kensington-Chelsea in St. Luke's Cemetery, Chelsea. How- 
ever, a new site was granted by the same borough on property it owned 
elsewhere, Kensington Cemetery, Gunnersbury Avenue, Hounslow, 
Middlesex. Furthermore, the Katyn Memorial Committee (a subcom- 
mittee of the KMF) signed an agreement on 29 March 1976 with the 
firm of Gilbert and Turnbull, which was to build the memorial. This 
news spurred the Politburo to renewed action. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

■ 112 • 

Politburo Protocol no. 3 on Measures to Counteract Western Propaganda 
on the Katyn Question (Excerpt) 339 
5 April 1976, Moscow 

Top Secret 

To: The Smolensk Oblast Committee, CPSU 
To Corns. Brezhnev, Kosygin, Andropov, Gromyko, 
Kirilenko, Ponomarev, Katushev, Smirtiukov 
Excerpt from Protocol no. 3 of the Politburo CC CPSU Session 
of 5 April 1976 
On Countermeasures against Western Propaganda 
on the So-Called Katyn Question 

1. Agree to [the request of] Polish friends for consultations with the goal 
of discussing possible common measures to counteract Western propa- 
ganda on the so-called Katyn Question after instructing the Department 
of the CC CPSU USSR and the MID USSR to conduct the consulta- 
tions 340 

Assume in this case the necessity of closely coordinating the steps [to be 
taken] by the USSR and the Polish People's Republic in order to counter- 
act and neutralize antisocialist and anti-Soviet actions and campaigns in 
the West in connection with the "Katyn Question." 

Consider as inexpedient any official declarations from our side so as to 
avoid giving hostile elements cause to use [them] in polemics on this ques- 
tion for anti-Soviet objectives. 

2. Instruct the Department of the CC CPSU USSR and MID USSR to 
learn the opinions of the Polish friends, expressed in the course of consul- 
tations and, in case of necessity, submit appropriate proposals to the CC 

3 . The MID USSR, in close contact with the diplomatic representatives 
of the Polish People's Republic, should firmly resist provocative attempts 
to use the so-called Katyn Question to harm Polish-Soviet friendship, be- 
ing directed in this [resistance] by the decisions of the CC CPSU of 2 
March 1973 (No. P80/12). 341 

4. The KGB USSR should, through unofficial channels, make it clear to 
persons in government circles of appropriate Western countries that the 
renewed use of various anti-Soviet forgeries is seen by the Soviet govern- 
ment as especially intentional provocation aimed at worsening the inter- 
national situation. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


5. Instruct the Smolensk Oblast CPSU Committee and the Oblast Exec- 
utive Committee to undertake supplementary measures to ensure the 
proper maintenance of the monument to the Polish officers and the sur- 
rounding area. 342 

Secretary CC 

Katyn did not attract much Western media attention after September 
1976, when a monument was unveiled in London, but it was not for- 
gotten in Poland, where it was openly commemorated by some Poles 
every year. By 1988, Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost in the USSR sparked 
the liberalization of Polish media, which clamored for admission of the 
truth. At the same time, the Joint Commission of Soviet-Polish Party 
Historians, which began in 1987 to investigate blank spots in the histo- 
riography of Polish-Soviet relations, reached a stalemate. In May 1988 
the Polish side produced a devastating critique of the Burdenko Com- 
mission report (doc. 106), but the Soviet side could not produce any 
new documents to support the report. In early February 1989, "Round- 
table Talks" began in Warsaw, between the party-government leader- 
ship on the one hand and the Solidarity leadership on the other, with the 
aim of reaching a political agreement. Furthermore, General Wojciech 
Jaruzelski, first secretary of the United Polish Workers' Party and chair- 
man of the Polish Council of Ministers, also pressed the Soviet govern- 
ment to admit the truth about Katyn. The note printed below shows the 
first documented suggestion by high-level Soviet officials that the USSR 
admit the crime was committed by the NKVD. 

• 113 • 

Note to the CC CPSU "On the Katyn Question" by Soviet Foreign Minister 
Eduard Shevardnadze; Valentin Falin, Director of the International Department 
of the CC CPSU; and Vladimir Kriuchkov, Chairman of the KGB USSR 343 
22 March 1989, Moscow 

No. 17-204 
To the CC CPSU 
On the Katyn Question 

As the critical dates of the year 1939 are approaching, the discussions in 
Poland on the so-called blank spots in [Polish] relations with the USSR 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

(and Russia) are becoming more and more strident. During recent weeks 
attention has focused on Katyn. In a series of publications written by au- 
thors known for their opposition views, as well as by scholars and publi- 
cists close to the Polish leadership, it is stated openly that the Soviet Union 
is guilty of the deaths of the Polish officers and that they were shot in the 
spring of 1 940. 344 

In the statement by J. Urban, spokesman for the Polish government, this 
point of view has been, in fact, legalized as the official stand of the au- 
thorities, although it is true that the guilt for the Katyn crime is placed on 
the "Stalinist NKVD" and not the Soviet state. 345 

The tactic of the [Polish] government is understandable — it is trying to 
reduce the pressure resulting from the nonfulfillment of the promise to 
throw light on the Katyn question. To some extent, the pressure is directed 
at us, since for two years already this topic has not moved forward in the 
Commission of Soviet and Polish Scholars, which was established to find 
solutions for the "blank spots." 

The Soviet part of the commission does not have at its disposal any sup- 
plementary materials to support the Burdenko version published in 1944. 
At the same time, our representatives do not have full powers to discuss 
the weighty arguments of the Polish side. 346 

Aside from J. Urban's statement, other steps are being considered in 
Warsaw [by the Polish government], which is forced to give some kind of 
satisfaction to its own society. In particular, there is the intent to transfer 
symbolic ashes (urn with soil), from Katyn to the central cemetery in War- 
saw and, at the same time, change the inscription on the monument 
erected there in an appropriate manner. 347 

An analysis of the situation indicates that the more this matter is de- 
layed, the more clearly the Katyn question becomes a stumbling block, not 
so much for past as for present Soviet-Polish relations. In the pamphlet ti- 
tled Katyn, published under church auspices in 1988, it is stated that 
Katyn is one of the most horrific crimes in the history of mankind. 348 
Other publications suggest that there can be no normal relations between 
Poland and the USSR as long as the Katyn question is not fully clarified. 

The Katyn topic is now being artificially moved up to second place [in 
public discussion], just after questions connected with the outbreak of 
World War II and the German attack on Poland. The subtext of this cam- 
paign is obvious — it is being suggested to the Poles that the Soviet Union 
is no better, and perhaps even worse, than the Germany of that time, that 
it carries no smaller burden of responsibility for the outbreak of the war 
and the military destruction of the Polish state of that time. 

In the Polish People's Republic, the Katyn question may decisively 
sharpen interest in an explanation of the fate of additional thousands of 
interned Polish officers, whose trails disappear in the regions of Kharkov 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


and Bologoe — and the longer Katyn remains a question, the greater the 
actual danger. 349 Thus far, we have not given clear answers to these addi- 
tional questions put [to us] by the Polish side. 

It is clear that we cannot avoid [giving] an explanation to the leadership 
of the Polish People's Republic and the Polish public of the tragic questions 
of the past. In this case, time is not our ally. Perhaps it is more advisable to 
say what really happened and exactly who is guilty, thus effecting closure 
to the problem. The costs of this kind of action would, in the final reckon- 
ing, be less in comparison with the losses [resulting from] present inaction. 

The draft of the CC CPSU resolution is attached. 350 

(E. Shevardnadze) 

(V. Falin) 

(V. Kriuchkov) 

The Shevardnadze, Falin, Kriuchkov note of 22 March 1989 (doc. 
113) prompted the Politburo to reconsider what official line to take on 
the Katyn question and to demand suggestions. 

• 114 • 

Politburo Protocol no. 152: Instruction by Mikhail S. Gorbachev to the 
Prosecutor's Office and Other State and Party Agencies to Propose the 
Future Soviet Line on Katyn (Excerpt) 
31 March 1989, Moscow* 

No. P152/15 
Top Secret 
To the Smolensk Oblast Committee: 
cc. Corns. Gorbachev, Ryzhkov, Medvedev, Chebrikov, Shevardnadze, 
Yakovlev, Kriuchkov, Sukharev, Kapto, A. Pavlov, 351 Falin 
Excerpt from Protocol no. 152 of the Meeting of the Politburo 
of the CC CPSU of 31 March 1989 
On the Katyn Question 

1. Instruct the Prosecutor's Office of the USSR; the Committee of State 
Security, USSR; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Departments of State 
and Law; the International and Ideological [Departments of the CC 
CPSU], to present within one month a proposal for the future Soviet line 
on the Katyn question for consideration by the CC CPSU. 

* Text in the margin: "To be returned within one month to the CC CPSU (General Depart- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

2. In connection with the request of the Polish side to transfer symbolic 
ashes from the burial site of Polish officers in Katyn to Warsaw, I, Mikhail 
S. Gorbachev, grant permission for this [to be done]. 352 

Secretary of the CC 

• 115 • 

Note on the Katyn Question to the CC CPSU 
22 April 1989, Moscow 

To the CC CPSU 
On the Katyn Question* 

In accordance with the instruction (P152/15 of 31 March 1989), 353 we 

Acquaintance with the materials we possess on the extermination of 
12,000 Polish officers interned in the Soviet Union in 1939 354 gives 
grounds for the assumption that only a part of this number perished at 
Katyn. The fate of the rest is thus far unknown. There is information in 
Polish and Western publications that Polish officers were killed in the re- 
gions of Bologoe (Kalinin Oblast) 355 and Dergachi (Kharkov Oblast). 

To clarify all the circumstances of what happened, it seems necessary to 
instruct the Prosecutor's Office of the USSR to conduct a scrupulous in- 
vestigation in cooperation with the KGB USSR. 356 

Since the question has taken on an extraordinary stridency in Poland 
and is being used to harm Polish-Soviet relations, it would be expedient to 
issue a publication on the scrupulous investigation being conducted by 
competent [Soviet] organs before the arrival of W. Jaruzelski on a working 
visit to the USSR (27-28 April 1989). 

Attached is a draft outline of the decision by the CC CPSU. 357 

A. Sukharev 
V. Kriuchkov 
A. Aboimov 
A. Pavlov 358 
V. Falin 
A. Kapto 

* Handwritten at the top in the left margin: "Ztf [For (agree)] A. [Aleksandr] Yakovlev." 
Stamp on top right side: "CC CPSU. 22 April 1989. 09287. To be returned to the General 
Department, CC CPSU." 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


In 1988, Natalia Lebedeva, member of the Institute of General His- 
tory, Soviet Academy of Sciences, obtained access to the Central 
Archive of the Red Army, where she found the records of the 136th 
NKVD Convoy Battalion, which escorted the Kozelsk prisoners to 
Katyn in April-May 1940, and the records of the Main Administra- 
tion of the NKVD Convoy Troops. She learned that the records of the 
NKVD UPV were in the Central Special Archive, but access to it was 
given at that time to Valentina Parsadanova, a specialist on the history 
of World War II Soviet-Polish relations in the Institute of Slavic and 
Balkan Studies of the Soviet Academy of Sciences, and member of the 
Joint Commission of Soviet-Polish Party Historians to look into the 
blank spots in the historiography of relations between the two nations. 

Access to these records (of whose existence he learned from Natalia 
Lebedeva) was also obtained by Yuri Zoria, docent (associate profes- 
sor) attached to the Chair of Special Disciplines at the Military Acad- 
emy of the Soviet Army, whose father, Nikolai Zoria, a Soviet legal 
counsel at the IMT in Nuremberg, died there in suspicious circum- 
stances on 23 May 1946. Yuri Zoria photocopied hundreds of pages of 
documents concerning Katyn and passed them on to Yakovlev, who 
sent them on to the office of President Mikhail Gorbachev. Lebedeva, 
Parsadanova, and Zoria had articles accepted for publication in June 
by the time Valentin Falin, director of the International Department of 
the CC CPSU wrote his note for Gorbachev on 23 February 1990. 

• 116 • 

Falin's Note on Katyn for Mikhail Gorbachev 359 
23 February 1990, Moscow 


Additional Information on the Katyn Tragedy 

Esteemed Mikhail Sergeevich! 

A number of Soviet historians (Yu. N. Zoria, V. S. Parsadanova, N. S. 
Lebedeva), given access to the collections of the Special Archive and the 
Central State Archive of the Main Archival Administration of the Council 
of Ministers of the USSR, also the Central State Archive of the October 
Revolution, have brought to light hitherto unknown materials of the 
Main Administration of the NKVD USSR for Prisoner-of-War and In- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

ternee Affairs [UPVI], as well as the Administration of NKVD Convoy 
Troops [GUKV], for the period 1939-1940 that are related to the so- 
called Katyn Question. 360 

According to these materials, at the beginning of January 1940 there 
were in the camps of the NKVD USSR Main Administration for Prisoner- 
of-War and Internee Affairs in Ostashkov, Kalinin Oblast; in Kozelsk, 
Smolensk Oblast; [and] in Starobelsk, Voroshilovgrad [Luhansk] Oblast 
approximately 14,000 former Polish citizens. These included officers of 
the army and navy, police and gendarmerie employees, military and civil- 
ian officials, [members of] various types of [intelligence] agencies, as well 
as military clergy. 

None of these persons qualified for release and return to their homeland 
(NKVD Order no. 001 17 of 1939). 361 The question of their fate was con- 
sidered several times. There are documents with the instructions of Beria 
and Merkulov to speed up the investigation [and] prepare materials on the 
former [Polish] employees of penal organs and intelligence organizations 
for examination by the Special Board of the NKVD USSR. 362 

In April-May 1940 the persons held in all the three camps were trans- 
ferred in stages to the disposal of various regional NKVD administrations. 
The lists were drawn up in a centralized manner and a uniform system of 
numbering was used. Each of these lists contained an average of 100 
names, and [they] were sent regularly, sometimes four to five lists per 
day. 363 The appropriate authorities in Moscow were informed every day 
of these departures. There were orders to exclude agents -informers and 
persons of operational interest from those to be sent [out of the camps]. 364 
In contrast to the general practice of moving prisoners, the camp com- 
manders were instructed to make notes on the departing prisoners only in 
the camp index card file ("departed according to list number . . . and 
month"), without sending the data cards to the center. 365 

Before the action began, an order was issued on introducing postal con- 
trol and the confiscation of all incoming and outgoing correspondence. 366 
It was forbidden to give any kind of answer to questions about those held 
in the camps. 367 All camp workers were warned to keep the places of de- 
portation strictly secret. 

After the conclusion of the action, all the "records" of the former inter- 
nees in the camps were "completed, appropriately processed, and depos- 
ited in the archive of the 1st Special Department NKVD." For new contin- 
gents arriving in the camps, the instruction was to start "totally new files 
with regard to the evidence and procedure." Later, the materials of the 
Kozelsk and Ostashkov camps were sent for preservation to the Main Ad- 
ministration [for Prisoner-of-War and Internee Affairs], but the Starobelsk 
camp materials were destroyed. 368 The persons detained in the three camps 
up to April-May 1940 do not figure in later statistical records. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Later, the Kozelsk and Starobelsk camps were used to hold persons of 
Polish nationality deported from the western regions of Ukraine, Belorus- 
sia, and the Baltic region. At the same time, information about the former 
contingent in these camps was carefully hidden from them. The buildings 
of Ostashkov camp were consigned in August 1940 to the local history 
and folklore museum. 369 

In this manner, documents from Soviet archives, even in the absence of 
orders for the execution by shooting and for burial, allow us to track the 
fate of the interned Polish officers held in the NKVD camps of Kozelsk, 
Starobelsk, and Ostashkov. A spot comparison of the lists of names of 
persons to be sent out of the Kozelsk camp with the identity lists com- 
piled by the Germans in spring 1943 at the time of the exhumations 
shows numerous coincidences that appear to prove the relationship be- 
tween the two. 

On the basis of newly documented facts, Soviet historians have pre- 
pared materials for publication. Some of them have already been ap- 
proved by editorial boards and accepted for publication. Their appear- 
ance is scheduled for June-July [this year]. 

The appearance of such publications would clearly create a new situa- 
tion. Our argument — that no materials have been found in the state 
archives of the USSR uncovering the true underpinnings of the Katyn 
tragedy — would become unconvincing. The materials uncovered by the 
scholars will undoubtedly reveal only part of the secrets in comparison 
with the data on which the Polish side bases its judgments, but this will not 
allow us to stand by the former versions and avoid putting an end to this 
question. In view of the approaching fiftieth anniversary of Katyn we 
should define our position one way or the other. 370 

It seems that the lowest possible costs are connected with the following 

To inform W. Jaruzelski that after detailed investigation in the appro- 
priate archives, we did not find explicit proof (orders, directives, etc.) 
that would allow us to name the exact date and concretely identify those 
responsible for the Katyn tragedy. At the same time, in the archives of 
the Main NKVD Administration for Prisoner-of-War and Internee Af- 
fairs, also [in the] records of the Administration of NKVD Convoy Troops 
for 1940, indications have been revealed that undermine the credibility 
of the "N. Burdenko Report." On the basis of these indications, it is 
possible to conclude that the extermination of the Polish officers in the 
Katyn region was the work of the NKVD and personally of Beria and 
Merkulov. 371 

The question remains as to the time and form of communicating this 
conclusion to the Polish and Soviet public. Here, the advice of the presi- 
dent of the Polish Republic is required, taking into consideration the ne- 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

cessity of [reaching a] political closure to the problem and, at the same 
time, avoiding an outburst of emotions. 
Please think this over. 

Your Falin 

Distributed to: Corns. Yakovlev, Shevardnadze, Kriuchkov, Boldin. Please 
communicate your opinion. M. Gorbachev 

In late February the Politburo voted not to allow Russian historians 
to publish articles based on archival documents about the murder of 
Polish POW officers and police in spring 1940. However, an interview 
with Natalia Lebedeva, who gave a survey of the Katyn documents she 
had found in the archives, was published on 25 March in Moskovskie 
Novosti [Moscow News], and this may have forced the Politburo to 
reverse its decision not to allow the publication of articles on the sub- 
ject. 372 At the same time, President Jaruzelski was expected to visit in 
mid-April, and he had made it clear that he expected an admission of 
Soviet guilt. In view of all the above, the Politburo decided on 7 April 
to follow Falin 's advice and admit the truth. Thus, at a reception held 
in the Polish Embassy on 13 April 1990 — the forty-seventh anniver- 
sary of the German announcement on the Katyn graves — Gorbachev 
handed Jaruzelski two file boxes containing the NKVD dispatch lists 
for Kozelsk and Ostashkov and a combined list for Starobelsk. On the 
same day, the official Soviet news agency, TASS, issued a communique 
admitting the truth and placing the responsibility for the massacres on 
Beria and Merkulov — without mentioning Stalin. 


13 April 1990, Moscow 

Statement by TASS 

At meetings between representatives of the Soviet and Polish govern- 
ments and in wide circles of these societies, the question of clarifying the 
circumstances of the extermination of the Polish officers interned in Sep- 
tember 1939 has been raised for a long time. Historians of both countries 
have conducted careful investigations of the Katyn tragedy, including the 
search for documents. 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


Most recently, Soviet archivists and historians have discovered some 
documents about Polish servicemen held in the NKVD USSR camps of 
Kozelsk, Ostashkov, and Starobelsk. These documents show that in 
April-May 1940, out of approximately 15,000 Polish officers held in 
these three camps, 374 394 were moved to Griazovets camp, 375 while the 
majority "were placed at the disposal" of the NKVD administrations in 
the Smolensk, Voroshilovgrad [Luhansk], and Kalinin Oblasts and do not 
appear later in any NKVD statistical records. 

The archival materials that have been discovered, taken together, permit 
the conclusion that Beria and Merkulov and their subordinates bear direct 
responsibility for the evil deeds in Katyn Forest. 376 

The Soviet side, expressing deep regret in connection with the Katyn 
tragedy, declares that it represents one of the heinous crimes of Stalinism. 

Copies of the documents found have been given to the Polish side. 377 
The search for archival documents continues. 

The Polish government urged President Gorbachev to speed up the 
criminal investigation into the massacre of Polish officers in spring 
1940. The Soviet Prosecutor's Office finally ordered the establishment 
of a criminal investigation group on 30 August 1990. Investigations 
had already been initiated by the Kharkov Oblast Prosecutor's Office 
in March and by the Kalinin Oblast Prosecutor's Office in June of that 
year, but it was the visit of Polish Foreign Minister Krzysztof Sku- 
biszewski to Moscow in early November 1990 that impelled Gor- 
bachev to issue the decree printed below. 378 

• 118 • 

Decree by President Gorbachev, in Connection with the Visit of Polish Minister 
of Foreign Affairs Krzysztof Skubiszewski, on Speeding Up the Investigation 
of the Fate of the Polish Officers Held in the Three Special Camps (Excerpt) 
3 November 1990, Moscow 


Decree of the President of the Union of Soviet Republics on the Results 
of the Visit to the Soviet Union of the Minister of Foreign Affairs 
of the Polish Republic, K. Skubiszewski. 379 

... 8. [I recommend] that the Prosecutor's Office of the USSR speed up 
the investigation into the fate of the Polish officers held in the Kozelsk, Os- 
tashkov, and Starobelsk camps. [The Prosecutor's Office] should, jointly 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

with the Committee of State Security of the USSR and the Ministry of In- 
ternal Affairs of the USSR, secure the search for and utilization of archival 
materials connected with the repressions regarding the Polish population 
on the territory of the USSR in 1939 and present the appropriate conclu- 
sions. 380 

9. [I recommend] that the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the Prose- 
cutor's Office of the USSR, the Ministry of Defense, and the Committee of 
State Security, together with other departments and organizations, con- 
duct investigative work by 1 April 199 1 to reveal archival materials relat- 
ing to the events and facts in the history of bilateral Soviet-Polish rela- 
tions, which resulted in losses to the Soviet side. 381 In absolutely necessary 
cases, utilize the material obtained in negotiations with the Polish side on 
the issue of "blank spots." 382 

The President of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics 
M. Gorbachev 
Moscow, The Kremlin 
3 November 1990 

Distributed to: Corns. Gorbachev, Ryzhkov, Kriuchkov, Masliukov, Med- 
vedev, Shevardnadze, Yazov, Sitarianov, Silaev, Kebich, Karamanov, Gu- 
benko, Katushev, V. Pavlov, Yagodin, Marchuk, Geraschchenko, Mos- 
kovsky, Shkabardnia* 
To be returned 

On 14 October 1992 the Russian press published the Politburo deci- 
sion of 5 March 1940 to shoot the Polish POWs. The document was 
also delivered to the Russian Constitutional Tribunal as evidence of the 
criminal nature of the Soviet, now Russian, Communist Party, which 
opposed President Yeltsin's reforms and which he had de-legalized. 

On the same day, the director of Soviet Archives, Professor Rudolf 
Pikhoia, presented, in President Yeltsin's name, a collection of hitherto 
secret Katyn documents to Polish President Walesa in Warsaw. They 
contained the infamous resolution of 5 March 1940, documents on the 
Soviet cover-up of the crime, and some documents from the Soviet 
Prosecutor General's Office on the Katyn investigation up to 3 Sep- 
tember 1 99 1. 

Walesa thanked Yeltsin in a letter dated 1 5 October 1992. Its style — 

* Typewritten at the bottom of page 1: "To be returned to the Presidential Council of the 
USSR (limit — 10 days). No. RP-979." Handwritten at the bottom of page 1: "PS-980 not for 
distribution." Handwritten at the bottom of the last page: "Results [?] p. 3 — see PS-952, 7 
February 1991." 

Katyn and Its Echoes 347 

especially in paragraphs three and four — indicates that Walesa proba- 
bly dictated it himself. 

• 119 • 

Letter from President Lech Walesa to President Boris Yeltsin 
Thanking Him for the Documents on Katyn 
15 October 1992, Warsaw 

Highly esteemed Mr. President! 

Deeply moved, I wish to thank you in the name of all Poles, and person- 
ally in my own, for delivering into my hands the most important docu- 
ments concerning the monstrous Katyn crime. 383 This was a crime perpe- 
trated against the Polish nation; a crime shrouded in a conspiracy of 
silence for almost fifty years; a crime whose consequences we have felt so 
painfully and for so long. 

Poles have always attached great importance to the Katyn question. 
Katyn became a symbol of truth, a test of sincerity between our two na- 
tions. The lie about the Katyn Forest served to enslave my fatherland. 
That is why we Poles are so sensitive to the name of Katyn. 

You have kept your word. 384 Thanks to your courage, the truth hidden 
from the world has seen the light of day. This was a difficult decision, in fact 
a heroic one. You proved yourself capable of a manly gesture, which many 
others were unable to make. I know that even today you have many oppo- 
nents. Yesterday, the crime was followed by a lie. Today, the truth, which 
you proclaimed to the world, will be followed by trust and honesty. You 
have, Mr. President, opened a new page in the relations between our two na- 
tions. It is directed to the future, based on mutual understanding, coopera- 
tion, and agreement. May this page of dramatic history never be repeated. 

I know how difficult is the reform work which you have undertaken. I 
wish for your fatherland, and you personally, that it will be crowned with 
success, as measured by the expectations and challenges of the time in 
which it is our lot to live, and also as measured by the success of future 

I enclose expressions of respect, Lech Walesa 385 

Many Poles felt that the Russian government had not done enough 
to atone for Soviet crimes against the Polish nation, while Polish histo- 
rians urged they be given access to the documents on the sentencing 
and execution of the prisoners from the three special camps, as well as 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

on the murder and burial sites of the prisoners executed in NKVD pris- 
ons in western Belorussia (Belarus) and western Ukraine in spring 
1940. President Yeltsin spoke to these issues in his letter to Walesa on 
22 May 1995. In so doing, he foreshadowed the attitude that would be 
taken by his successor, President Vladimir Putin. 

• 120 • 

Letter from President Yeltsin to President Wal?sa on 
Fifty-fifth Anniversary of the Katyn Tragedy 
22 May 1995, Moscow 

To His Excellency 
Mr. L. Walesa 

President of the Republic of Poland 
Esteemed Mr. President, 

I know very well the significance that measures connected with the fifty- 
fifth anniversary of the Katyn tragedy have in Poland. I fully share your 
opinion that this tragic page of our history should finally be closed, while 
its memory should be recalled to serve the aim of mutual understanding 
between our two countries and the avoidance of elements of distrust and 
prejudice. 386 

In this connection, I cannot omit mentioning that solving this complex 
task is not aided, as practice shows, by the inflaming of emotions sur- 
rounding the Katyn theme in the mass media by certain political circles, by 
the escalation of demands presented to the Russian side — from making an 
apology to organizing a trial and the payment of compensation. 387 The 
stand of democratic Russia regarding the crimes of the Stalinist regime, in- 
cluding Katyn, is well known. It has been expressed more than once over 
the past few years, including in my visit to Poland in 1993 . 388 

We can well understand the feelings of the Poles. However, totalitarian 
terror touched not only their countrymen. In Katyn Forest alone, along- 
side the remains of Polish officers, there are, according to incomplete data, 
about nine thousand victims of political repression, people of various na- 
tionalities. 389 There is reliable information about the execution by shoot- 
ing in that place of over five hundred [Soviet] POWs by the Nazis, who 
used [them] in the war years for building secret military objects. 390 There- 
fore, we consider the Katyn Forest to be a place of remembrance for the 
victims of totalitarianism and Nazism, where a memorial should be built 
for all the innocent people who lost their lives there. Of course, within the 
framework of the memorial, the memory of the Polish officers who per- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 

ished there should be immortalized in a dignified manner. The Russian 
side intends to proclaim a competition for the best project [submitted] for 
the memorial and would appreciate the participation of Polish architects. 

We attach great importance to the preparation and carrying out in June 
this year at Katyn and Mednoe of a ceremony to place memorial signs in 
places designated for Polish military cemeteries. Appropriate instructions 
have been given to the authorities of the regions of Smolensk and Tver. 391 

As for the documents that you write of in your letter, the comprehensive 
measures taken to find them have confirmed their absence in Russian 
archives, including the archives of the Special Services [KGB]. The ques- 
tioning in April this year of former workers of the NKVD Archival Ser- 
vices resulted in the conclusion that the above-mentioned materials were 
destroyed in 1959. This action took place over a period of two weeks by 
two workers who are no longer among the living. No records of this kind, 
envisaged in similar cases, have survived. 392 

I would like to assure you, Mr. President, that no one in Russia aims to 
hide from the Polish side any information regarding the Katyn tragedy. 
The Main Military Prosecutor's Office, which is conducting an investi- 
gation into the Katyn case, has received from the archives of the Federal 
Security Service about two hundred files and documents, as well as thirty- 
five volumes of documents concerning the work of the Burdenko Com- 
mission. 393 Military prosecutors have had the opportunity to acquaint 
themselves directly with the archival collections held in the Central Ar- 
chives of the Federal Security Service and its affiliates; they were able per- 
sonally to see the necessary files and documents and select those of inter- 
est to the investigation. 394 

The Office of the Main Military Prosecutor of the Russian Federation 
continues to investigate the criminal case of the shooting of Polish citi- 
zens in 1940. 395 Part of the materials in this case concern the investiga- 
tion of the circumstances of the deaths of Polish officers in 1940 in the 
prisons of western Ukraine and western Belorussia, [which] have been 
detached and sent to the offices of the prosecutor generals of the now sov- 
ereign states — Ukraine and Belarus — for making the appropriate deci- 
sions. 396 

I am fully convinced that the steps taken jointly by us will promote the 
finalization of the Katyn case in all its aspects and, by the same token, the 
further successful development of relations between our two peoples. 397 

B. Yeltsin 

The speeches of Polish Prime Minister Jerzy Buzek and Russian 
Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Khristenko at the opening of the Polish 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

and Russian cemeteries at Katyn illustrate the differences in Polish and 
Russian public opinion on the massacre. 

• 121 • 

Speech by Jerzy Buzek, Prime Minister of Poland, at the Ceremonial Opening 
of the Polish War Cemetery at Katyn 398 
28 July 2000, Katyn 

Esteemed Mr. Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, 399 

Your Grace, the Cardinal Primate of Poland, 400 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Representatives of the Sejm, 401 

Gentlemen, Officers of the Polish Army gathered here, in Katyn, 

Dear, Esteemed Members of Katyn Families, all of whom are family to us, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

There is an image of the Mother of God that is moving in its simplicity 
of expression. [It is] the sad face of the Savior's Mother, who is pressing to 
her breast the head of a Polish prisoner of war with a bullet hole through 
his skull. 402 This [is] the symbol of the victory of love over hate — of hate, 
which took away the lives of the best sons of our nation, and of love, 
which will always rise above hate. 

"Love demands sacrifice" — these words were the motto of Polish sol- 
diers who fought sixty years ago for the independence of Poland, which 
they loved. 

At Katyn, four and a half thousand soldiers' lives were thrown down on 
the altar of love for the Fatherland. It is difficult for us to cry for them to- 
day because we have no tears left, and our hands, clasped together for so 
long, are numb. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Many of us present here today were undoubtedly born in 1940. Seeing 
the inscription "Katyn 1940," I also recall the year of my birth — when, at 
this time, in this forest, in this place, our fellow countrymen were thrown 
into open pits. We belong to the generation of the sons and daughters of 
these soldiers. Fate decreed that many of us, including myself, did not re- 
ceive the bad news of the father who would not return home. Still, there is 
no deeper wound for all Poles than the one which remained unhealed for 
so long, regardless of whether or not our family members lie in this ceme- 

For Katyn was not only a terrible crime carried out under the majesty of 
Soviet law; it was also a lie; a lie repeated thousands of times, but one 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


which, for all that, did not cease being a lie. The word "Katyn" will, for 
whole generations in Poland and in the whole world, signify genocide and 
a war crime. 
Ladies and Gentlemen, 

We are here today to say, "We remember, and we will remember." For, 
as the poet said, "If we forget you — then You, O God, forget us." 403 From 
here, from this place, I wish to say in the name of the Polish Nation, that 
we will not rest until we know the names of all the citizens of the [Polish] 
Republic murdered by Soviet authorities and find their burial sites. 404 We 
are not doing this out of revenge but out of a feeling for justice. 

In our tradition, life has its beginning and its end. Just as we feel joy at 
the birth of every human being, so every human being must be buried with 
dignity. Part of this tradition is also the concept of crime and punishment. 
The Katyn crime must be fully explained. There must also be a full ac- 
counting for it. 405 

In this place I pay homage to all the people murdered and tortured to 
death at Katyn, as well as in the whole territory of the Soviet Union. Our 
pain is equal to yours. 

I am thinking here of the Russians, who are hosting us in their land. I 
thank you, Russians, and all the other nations that experienced commu- 
nism, for what you have done to memorialize the past and to settle ac- 
counts with it. Without your help and your goodwill we would not be here 
today; nor would we be at Mednoe and Kharkov. 406 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

I also wish to thank all those, who contributed over the years to uncov- 
ering the truth about the crime committed at Katyn, thanks to whom the 
Polish War Cemetery came to be opened today. Special thanks should go 
to the Russian Memorial [society], to its Coordinating Committee to 
Commemorate the Victims of Totalitarianism at Katyn and at Mednoe, 407 
and to the authorities of the Smolensk region, especially the governor, as 
well as the Russian journalists and scholars who uncovered the truth — of- 
ten despite obstacles [presented] by fate. 408 1 also thank the designers and 
builders of the Polish War Cemetery at Katyn and the Council for the Pro- 
tection of the Memory of Combat and Martyrdom. 409 

I turn again to the officers and soldiers of the Polish Army. You are the 
heirs of those who were murdered. Poles have always treated their army 
with the greatest respect and honor. I am convinced that this legacy passed 
on to you by your forebears, the officers murdered here, is important for 
you; a legacy that you will always protect. 

I turn now to the Katyn Families. Among you are the widows of those 
murdered sixty years ago, as well as their closest relatives. I am convinced 
that none of us can fully understand the enormity of your suffering, the 


Katyn and Its Echoes 

enormity of the misfortune that you had to live with for sixty years. But al- 
though these were not our relatives, they are family to us. For this is a frag- 
ment of our dramatic, tragic history in the twentieth century. 

I would like to thank all of you, members of Katyn Families, for pre- 
serving the memory of that crime, from which we can learn. 410 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

Today we have the great chance to make history together without ha- 
tred and without lies. When our mutual teacher Jesus Christ was asked 
how many times a human being should forgive — he answered seventy- 
seven times. Here at Katyn we should remember these words and learn the 
difficult art of forgiveness. 

I believe that the Polish War Cemetery at Katyn will become for us Poles 
and for people of other nationalities a place to visit, particularly the young 
generations. They will come here to see, remember, and forgive. Katyn, 
Mednoe, Kharkov. Together with Monte Cassino, Powazki, Narvik, To- 
bruk — our national cemeteries — [they] are part of our national identity, 
the national identity of Poles. 411 

Here we left our national soul and our tragic national memory. We will 
draw from here faith, hope, and love. 

• 122 • 

Speech by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, 
Viktor Khristenko, at the Opening of the Katyn Memorial Complex 
28 July 2000, Katyn 

Esteemed Mr. Prime Minister of the Polish Republic, Esteemed Polish 

My Fellow Countrymen! 

Today we are all witnesses and participants in a historical event — the 
opening of the Memorial Complex at Katyn dedicated to the memory of 
Soviet and Polish citizens who were victims of totalitarian repression. I am 
convinced that it has a special meaning for future Russian-Polish relations 
and, above all, for their dimension of humanitarian and human relations. 
Today's ceremony confirms the new character of mutual relations be- 
tween our states, the higher level of understanding the history that binds 
together the Russian and Polish peoples and the societies of both coun- 

We Russians can well understand the feelings of Poles connected with 
Katyn [and] the motives that moved the presidents of Russia and Poland 
in 1992 to judge the crimes of totalitarianism, which brought so much suf- 

Katyn and Its Echoes 


fering to the peoples of our countries. 412 In fact, it was the peoples of the 
former Soviet Union who became the first and principal victims of the in- 
human Stalinist machine, which broke and mangled millions of human 

Indeed, in this earth, four thousand Polish officers rest alongside tens of 
thousands of our compatriots, and the Katyn Forest will remain in na- 
tional memory as the symbol of a terrible tragedy that befell our society 
while also affecting representatives of other states. May their memory live 

I fully share the words of the prime minister of the Polish Republic 
which he spoke recently at the Warsaw ceremony on the occasion of the 
sixtieth anniversary of the Katyn tragedy, that the concept of Katyn itself 
should become the "symbol of common memory, of our obligation to 
jointly surmount a difficult part of our history for the sake of our future, 
for the sake of strengthening friendly feelings between Poles and Russians, 
for the sake of building friendly relations between Russia and Poland. " 413 

We are gathered here today not only to honor the memory of repressed 
Russian citizens and Polish military servicemen but also to declare with 
full responsibility that nothing like this should ever be repeated. The Rus- 
sian names of the places of Katyn and Mednoe must lose their burden of 
negative significance in Russian-Polish relations and become the symbols 
of common mourning and reconciliation. The shadow of the past should 
in no way darken the present nor, all the more, the future of mutual, two- 
sided contacts and cooperation between Russia and Poland. 

We are obligated to turn over this tragic page of our mutual history and 
instead strive to banish from Russian-Polish relations the distrust and 
prejudice remaining from the past. 414 The memory of the Katyn tragedy, 
the common mourning for those who perished, should not divide but 
unite our peoples. 

I am convinced that this will be so! 

This page intentionally left blank 

List of Documents with Sources 

The origin of each document published here is the first source listed for that docu- 
ment. All documents were translated from the Russian unless otherwise stated. 

The abbreviation KD, followed by volume number and document number, sig- 
nifies a document published in the Russian series Katyn: Dokumenty; KDZ, fol- 
lowed by volume number and document number, signifies a document published 
in the Polish series Katyn: Dokumenty Zbrodni. (For volume titles and publication 
information, see the abbreviation list at the beginning of the endnotes section; for 
more information about these series, see Note on the Documents.) 

The abbreviation R stands for Rasstrel [Execution by Shooting], the title of a 
supplement to KDi that contains key documents on the extermination of the Pol- 
ish prisoners of war in the spring of 1940. Rasstrel reproduces facsimiles of fifty- 
two documents because the editor Natalia Lebedeva had no certainty at the time 
that further volumes of Katyn documents would be funded. The facsimiles are lo- 
cated at the end of KDi and are referred to by their numbers. Most are also 
printed as documents in KD2. Facsimiles of selected documents are likewise 
printed at the end of KD2; their document numbers are given here with page num- 
bers to distinguish them from the documents in KDi. Facsimiles of a few docu- 
ments, considered of particular importance, are reproduced in both Russian vol- 
umes. There are also facsimiles of documents in the Polish volumes. 

Nearly all the documents came originally from Russian archives. The full names 
of the archives are given at first mention and also in the list of abbreviations and 
acronyms at the beginning of this volume; the main archival sources are also listed 
at the beginning of the endnotes. The names of some archives have changed since 
the publication of the first Russian volume and the first two Polish volumes of 
Katyn documents. In 1999, two archives, the Rossiiskii Gosudarstvenny Voenny 
Arkhiv [RGVA — Russian State Military Archive] and the Tsentr Khranenia Is- 
toriko-Dokumentalnykh Kollektsii [TsKhlDK — Russian Center for Preserving 
Historical-Documentary Collections] were merged into one: RGVA. The Rossi- 



List of Documents with Sources 

iskii Tsentr Khranenia i Izuchenia Dokumentov Noveishei Istorii [RTsKhlDNI — 
Russian Center for the Preservation and Study of Documents of Recent History] 
was renamed Rossiiskii Gosudarstvenny Arkhiv Sotsialno-Politicheskoi Istorii 
[RGASPI — Russian State Archive for Social and Political History]. In both cases, 
the internal reference numbers remained the same. In this volume, the old archive 
names are given as published, followed by the new archive names in brackets, fol- 
lowed by archival references. The type of document (original or copy, handwritten 
or typed) is given when the information is available in the KD and KDZ volumes. 

Abbreviations are given with English translation at first mention; the common 
ones are included in the list of abbreviations and acronyms. 

The English translations from the Russian were prepared by Marian Schwartz 
unless specified otherwise. Where existing English translations were used, most 
have been modified either to provide a more precise translation or to conform to 
standard English style. 

23 AUGUST 1939-5 MARCH 194O 

1. Non- Aggression Pact between Germany and the Soviet Union, 23 Au- 
gust 1939, Moscow 

Arkhiv Vneshnei Politiki Rossiiskoi Federatsii [AVPRF — Foreign Policy 
Archive of the Russian Federation], f. [fond — collection] 3a, d. [delo — 
folder] 243, Germania, KD1/1, KDZ1/1. Original Russian text, Doku- 
menty Vneshnei Politiki [DVP — Documents on Foreign Policy], vol. XXII, 
book 1 (Moscow, 1992), no. 484; the English translation given here is by 
M. Schwartz and A. M. Cienciala. See also the English version of the Rus- 
sian text in Jane Degras, ed., Soviet Documents on Foreign Policy, 1917- 
1941 [SDFP], vol. Ill: 1933-1941 (London, 1953), pp. 359-360. For an 
English version of the German text, see Documents on German Foreign 
Policy, 1918-1945 [DGFP], ser. D, vol. VII (London, Washington, D.C., 
1956), no. 228; reprint, Stanisiaw Biegahski et al., eds., Documents on Pol- 
ish-Soviet Relations, 1939-1945 [DPSR], vol. I (London, 1961), no. 31. 

2. Secret Supplementary Protocol to the Non- Aggression Pact between 
Germany and the Soviet Union, 23 August 1939, Moscow 

Arkhiv Prezidenta Rossiiskoi Federatsii [APRF — Archive of the Presi- 
dent of the Russian Federation], f. 3, op. [opis — collection or inventory 
within a fond] 64, d. 675a, 1. [list — page, card] 3-4; KDi/z, KDZi/z; 
DVP, vol. XXII, book 1, no. 485; the English translation used here is by 
M. Schwartz and A. M. Cienciala; for an English translation of the Ger- 
man text, see SDFP, vol. Ill, pp. 360-361; and DGFP, ser. D, vol. VII, no. 
229; reprint, DPSR, vol. I, no. 32. 

List of Documents with Sources 


3. Order no. 005 of the Military Council of the Belorussian Front to the 
Troops on the Goals of the Red Army's Entry into Western Belorussia, 16 
September 1939, Smolensk 

Rossiiskii Gosudarstvenny Voenny Arkhiv [RGVA — Russian State Mil- 
itary Archive], f. 35086, op. 1, d. 4, 1. 8, printed document; KD1/5, 

4. Soviet Government Note Handed to the Polish Ambassador in the 
USSR, Waclaw Grzybowski, 17 September 1939, Moscow 

Russian text, Izvestia, 18 September 1939; reprint, Dokumenty i Mate- 
riaty do Historii Stosunkow Polsko-Radzieckich [Documents and Materi- 
als for the History of Polish-Soviet Relations], vol. VII (Warsaw, 1973), 
no. 105; DVP, vol. XXII, book 2, no. 597; excerpt in KDilj, note 3 (notes 
to documents in KDi are given after p. 392). For the Polish text see Stefa- 
nia Stanislawska, ed., Sprawa Polska w Czasie Drugiej Wojny Swiatowej 
na Arenie Migdzynarodowej [The Polish Question during World War II in 
the International Arena] (Warsaw, 1965), no. 44. The English text given 
here is from SDFP, vol. Ill, p. 374. 

5. From the Official Diary of Soviet Deputy People's Commissar of For- 
eign Affairs Potemkin on a Conversation with Polish Ambassador Grzy- 
bowski, 17 September 1939, Moscow 

APRF, f. 3, op. 50, d. 410, 11. 35-39, original; DVP, vol. XXII, book 2, 
no. 596; KDilj, KDZilj. The English translation from the Russian given 
here is by A. M. Cienciala. 

6. Order of the Commander in Chief of the Polish Army, Marshal Edward 
Smigly-Rydz, Regarding the Entry of Soviet Forces into Poland, 17 Sep- 
tember 1939, Kuty 

Centralne Archiwum Wojskowe [CAW — Central Military Archive], 
Warsaw, II/1/4, karta [card] 24 5; KDZ1/6 (typed copy in Polish). The En- 
glish translation from the Polish given here is by A. M. Cienciala; KD1/6 
(Russian translation from Polish). 

7. Politburo Decision on Placing POW Reception Points under NKVD 
Protection (Excerpt), 18 September 1939, Moscow 

APRF, f. 3, op. 50, d. 410, 1. 64, typed copy on form used for Politburo 
session excerpts; KD1/9, KDZ1/9. 

8. Lavrenty P. Beria's Order no. 0308 on the Organization of the UPV and 
POW Camps under the NKVD USSR, 19 September 1939, Moscow 

Gosudarstvenny Arkhiv Rossiiskoi Federatsii [GARF — State Archive of 
the Russian Federation], f. 9401, op. 1, d. 532, 11. 432-437, original; 
KD1/1 1, KDZ1/11. First published in Polish translation in Czeslaw Grze- 
lak et al., eds., Agresja Sowiecka na Polskq w Swietle Dokumentow, 17 


List of Documents with Sources 

Wrzesnia 1939 [Soviet Aggression against Poland in the Light of Docu- 
ments, 17 September 1939], vol. 1 (Warsaw, 1994), no. 100. 

9. Statute of the NKVD UPV, not before 19 September 1939, Moscow 
Tsentr Khranenia Istoriko-Dokumentalnykh Kollektsii [TsKhlDK — 

Russian Center for Preserving Historical-Documentary Collections, now 
in RGVA], f. i/p, op. ia, d. 1, 11. 55-57, typed copy; KDi/iz, KDZi/ iz. 

10. USSR NKVD Instruction to the Osoboe Otdelenia [Special Sections] 
of POW Camps on Recording Operational Data on the Prisoners, 19 Sep- 
tember 1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. re, d. 1, 11. 10-13, typed copy; KDi/i 3 , 
KDZi/i 3 . 

11. Report of the USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Defense, Army 
Commander 1st Rank Grigory Kulik, on the Actions of Red Army Units 
and Formations in Western Ukraine and the Political and Economic Situ- 
ation in the Region, 21 September 1939, Stanislavov [Stanislawow] 

RGVA, f. 35084, op. 1, d. 7, 11. 4-14, handwritten original; KD1/16, 

12. German-Soviet Treaty on Friendship and the Border between the 
USSR and Germany, 28 September 1939, Moscow 

AVPRF, f. 3a, d. 246, Germania, original; KDilzy, KDZi/zy, DVP, 
vol. XXII, book 2, no. 640; the English translation from the Russian given 
here is by M. Schwartz and A. M. Cienciala; see also SDFP, vol. Ill, p. 377; 
for an English translation of the German text, see DGFP, ser. D, vol. VIII 
(London, Washington, D.C., 1957), no. 157; reprint, DPSR, vol. I, no. 52. 

13 a. Secret Supplementary Protocol to the German-Soviet Treaty on 
Friendship and the Border between the USSR and Germany [Identifying 
Spheres of Interest and Affirming Agreements], 28 September 1939, Mos- 

AVPRF, f. 06, op. 1, 1. 8, d. 77, 1. 4; Russian text, DVP, vol. XXII, book 
2, no. 643; KDZi/z6; the English translation from the Russian given here 
is by A. M. Cienciala; see also SDFP, vol. Ill, p. 378; for an English trans- 
lation of the German text, see DGFP, ser. D, vol. VIII, no. 159; reprint, 
DPSR, vol. I, no. 54. 

13b. Secret Supplementary Protocol to the German-Soviet Treaty on 
Friendship and the Border between the USSR and Germany [Establishing 
Cooperation against Polish Resistance], 28 September 1939, Moscow 
APRF, f. 3, op. 64, d. 675a, 1. 20, original; KDi/z6; KDZi/z6; DVP, 

List of Documents with Sources 


vol. XXII, book z, no. 64 z; the English translation from the Russian given 
here is by A. M. Cienciala; see also SDFP, vol. Ill, p. 379; for an English 
translation of the German text, see DGFP, ser. D, vol. VIII, no. 160; 
reprint, DPSR, vol. I, no. 55. 

14. Excerpt from a Politburo Protocol: Decision on Prisoners of War, [z- 
3] October 1939, Moscow 

APRF, f. 3, op. 50, d. 410, 11. 148-149, copy on form used for excerpts 
from Politburo session minutes; KDr/37; KDZ1/37 (includes text regard- 
ing sentences of military tribunals). For an English translation with some- 
what different wording, printed alongside a photocopy of the Russian 
text, see Wojciech Materski, ed., Kremlin versus Poland, 1939-2^45: 
Documents from the Soviet Archives [English edition by Ryszard Zeli- 
chowski] (Warsaw, 1996), no. 1. 

15. Politburo Decision on Ratifying Military Tribunal Sentences in West- 
ern Ukraine and Western Belorussia, 3 October 1939, Moscow; from Pro- 
tocol no. 7 (Special no. 7) — Decisions of the Politburo VKP(b) TsK [All 
Union Central Committee, Communist Party (Bolshevik)], for 4 Septem- 
ber- 3 October 1939 

Rossiiskii Tsentr Khranenia i Izuchenia Dokumentov Noveishei Istorii 
[RTsKhlDNI — Russian Center for Preserving Documents of Recent His- 
tory] now the Rossiiskii Gosudarstvenny Arkhiv Sotsialno-Politicheskoi 
Istorii [RGASPI — Russian State Archive for Social and Political History], 
f. 17, op. i6z, d. z6, 1. zi; KDi/4za, KDZ1/37. 

16. Beria's Directive on Operational-Cheka Work among POWs in NKVD 
Camps, 8 October 1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. 451/p, op. 1, d. 1, 11. zz-z 7 , typed copy; KD1/46, 

17. NKVD UPV Information on the Number of POWs Subject to Release 
and Those Remaining in the Camps as of 8 October 1939, 8 October 
1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. za, d. 1, 1. 37, typed original; KDi/ 49 , 
KDZi/ 49 . 

18. Beria's Memorandum to Molotov on Sending Home Polish Soldier 
POWs, Residents of Western Belorussia and Western Ukraine, and Deliv- 
ering to the German Authorities POWs Who Are Residents of German 
Poland, 11 October 1939, Moscow 

APRF, f. 3, op. 5, d. 615, 11. 47-48, original; KDil^z, KDZil^z, both 
with facsimiles of the document. 


List of Documents with Sources 

19. Agreement between the NKVD UPV and the Narkomchermet 
[NKChM — Commissariat of Ferrous Metallurgy] on Utilizing POWs, 14 
October 1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. ze, d. 8, 11. 4-6, typed copy; KDi/ 57 , 
KDZi/ 57 . 

20. Petition by Lieutenant Colonel T. Petrazycki to Starobelsk Camp 
Commander Aleksandr Berezhkov Regarding POW Correspondence with 
Families, 15 October 1939, Starobelsk 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. 2, d. 1, 1. 141, handwritten original in 
Russian; KD1/6Z-64, KDZi/6z with facsimile. 

21. Letter from Polish General Franciszek Sikorski to Army Commander 
Semyon K. Timoshenko on the Illegal Holding of Polish Lvov [Lwow, 
Lviv] Defenders in a Camp, 20 October 1939, Starobelsk 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. zv, d. 1, 11. 222-223, typed original; 
KDi/6 9 , KDZ1/69. 

22. NKVD UPV Instruction to the Head of Putivl Camp on Detaining 
POWs with Various Specializations and Backgrounds, 23 October 1939, 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. ze, d. 6, 1. 27, typed copy; KDi/ 75 , 
KDZi/ 75 . 

23. NKVD UPV Report to Beria on the Refusal of Some POWs to Travel 
to German Poland, 28 October 1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. 2v, d. 4, 1. 18, typed original; KD1/81, 

24. Pyotr Soprunenko's Instructions to the Commanders of the POW 
Camps on Sending [Military] Settlers to Ostashkov Camp, 29 October 
1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. re, d. 1, 1. 112, typed copy; KD j/84, 

25. Petition from POW Physicians and Pharmacists to Marshal Kliment Ye. 
Voroshilov Regarding Their Illegal Detention, 30 October 1939, Staro- 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. zv, d. 1, 11. 176-177, handwritten Rus- 
sian original with signatures; KDi/8 7 with facsimile on p. 174, KDZi/8 7 
with facsimile. 

26. NKVD UPV Telegram to Vasily Korolev on Sending the UPV Inspec- 
tor GB Major Vasily Zarubin to Kozelsk Camp, 31 October 1939, Mos- 

List of Documents with Sources 


TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. ze, d. 9, 1. 34, typed copy; KD1/90, 
KDZi/ 9 o. 

27. SNK Resolution on the Admission to the USSR of Polish Military Per- 
sonnel Interned in Lithuania, 9 November 1939, Moscow 

GARF, f. 5446, op. 57, d. 65, 11. 118-119, typed original; KD1/101, 
KDZ1/101 with facsimile. 

28. NKVD UPV Report on the Number of POWs Sent Away and Held in 
the Camps, 19 November 1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. re, d. 2, 1. 223, typed original; fCDi/in 
with facsimile, KDZi/ in with facsimile. 

29. NKVD UPV Proposals to Beria on the Release of Some POWS, after 2 
November 1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. 3, op. 1, d. 1, 11. 19-21, typed copy; KD1/121, 

30. NKVD UPV Report to Vasily Chernyshov on Conditions in Kozelsk 
Camp, not before 1 December 1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. 2e, d. 9, 11. 153-159, typed copy; KDi/ 

I2 4 ,_KDZj/l2 4 . 

31. Politburo Decision to Arrest All Registered Regular Officers of the 
Former Polish Army, 3 December 1939, Moscow 

RTsKhlDNI [RGASPI], f. 17, op. 162, d. 26, 1. 119, typed copy from 
Politburo Decisions of 11 November-9 December 1939; KDi/iz6, 

32. Report from the Commander of Starobelsk Camp to Semyon Ne- 
khoroshev on the Political and Moral Conditions in the Camp in Novem- 
ber 1939, 3 December 1939, Starobelsk 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. 3, op. 1, d. 3, 11. 57-68, original typed on a Staro- 
belsk camp form; KDi/izy, KDZi/izy. 

33. NKVD Commissar's Order no. 0408 to Organize New Reception and 
Distribution Centers in the UkSSR, 10 December 1939, Moscow 

GARF, f. 9401, op. 1, d. 533, 1. 310, typed original; XD1/137, KDZil 
137,1. 340. 

34. Ivan Serov's Report to Beria on the Arrest of Polish Regular Officers in 
the Oblasts of Western Ukraine, 14 December 1939, Kiev 

Tsentralny Arkhiv Federalnoi Sluzhby Bezopastnosti Rossiiskoi Feder- 
atsii [TsA FSB RF — Central Archive of the Federal Security Service of the 
Russian Federation], f. 3, op. 6, port, [portfel — file] 255, 11. 401-402, 
typed original; KD j/13 8, KDZj/138. 


List of Documents with Sources 

35. Soprunenko's Instruction Sent by Direct Line to the Head of the 
UkSSR NKVD Administration of Correctional Labor Colonies, Alek- 
sandr Zverev, on Dispatching Recuperated POW Officers to Various Des- 
tinations, 15 December 1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. ze, d. 18, 1. 67, typed copy; KD1/140, 

36. Soprunenko's Report on the Number of Polish POW Officers, Police, 
and Gendarmes, Inhabitants of Western Ukraine, Western Belorussia, and 
German Poland, Being Held in the NKVD POW Camps, 29 December 
1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. oie, d. 2, 1. 282, typed copy; KD1/146, 

37. Beria's Instruction to Soprunenko as Head of the USSR NKVD Inves- 
tigatory Brigade for Ostashkov Camp, 31 December 1939, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. ia, d. 1, 11. 220-223, original typed on 
NKVD USSR letterhead paper; KDj/150, KDZ1/150 with facsimile of 
first page of document. 

38. Conclusion of the Indictment in the Case of POW Szczepan Olejnik, 6 
January 1940, Ostashkov 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. 4e, d. 1, 1. 163, typed copy; KD1/158, 
XDZ1/158 with facsimile. 

39. Petition to Soviet Authorities from a Group of Polish POW Colonels 
to Define Their Status and Observe International Standards for the Treat- 
ment of POWs, 7 January 1940, Starobelsk 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. 3, op. 1, d. 1, 11. 162-164, typed copy; also typed 
copy with the triangular seal of NKVD USSRUPV, KD1/160; KDZ1/160 
(lists the same archival source but gives pp. 37-39). First published in 
Novy Mir [New World], no. 2 (Moscow, i99i),pp. 213-215. 

40. Cipher Telegram from Soprunenko and Stepan Belolipetsky to Beria 
on the Conclusion of the Investigation and Transfer of POW Cases from 
Ostashkov Camp to the OSO, 1 February 1940, Ostashkov 

TsA FSB RE, f. 3, op. 7, port. 649, 1. 334, typed on incoming cipher 
telegram form, copy; KD1/178, facsimile, p. 317; KDZ1/178 with fac- 

41. NKVD UPV Proposals to Beria on Clearing Out Starobelsk and 
Kozelsk Camps, 20 February 1940, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. 3 a, d. 1, 11. 274-275, typed original; 
KD1/188, KDZ1/188 with facsimile. 

42. USSR Deputy People's Commissar of Internal Affairs Vsevolod Mer- 
kulov's Directive on Transferring to Prisons Certain Categories of Prison- 

List of Documents with Sources 


ers Detained in Starobelsk, Kozelsk, and Ostashkov Camps, 22 February 
1940, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. re, d. 1, 1. 230, typed original; KD1/190, 
KDZi/i 9 o. 

43. NKVD UPV Report on the Nationality of Polish POW Officers Held 
in Starobelsk and Kozelsk Camps, 28 February 1940, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. oie, d. 3, 11. 98-99, typed copy; KDil 
202, KDZi/zoz. 

44. Soprunenko's Report on the Number of Polish Police and Gendarmes 
Held in NKVD POW Camps, 2 March 1940, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. oie, d. 3, 1. no, typed original; KDil 
206, KDZi/zo6. 

45. Excerpt from Protocol no. 13, Decisions of the Politburo: Decision on 
Guarding the State Borders of the UkSSR and BSSR, 2 March 1940, 

RTsKhlDNI [RGASPI], f. 17, op. 162, d. 27, 11. 48-49, typed copy; 

46. Report by Grigory Korytov to the Head of the Special Department of 
Kalinin Oblast UNKVD, Vasily Pavlov, on the Discussion in the NKVD 
1st Special Department about "Clearing Out" the Ostashkov POW 
Camp, no later than 4 March 1940, Ostashkov 

TsA FSB RE, Kollektsia Dokumentov [Documentary Collection], typed 
copy; KDi/zi 5, KDZ1/215. 

47. Beria Memorandum to Joseph Stalin Proposing the Execution of the 
Polish Officers, Gendarmes, Police, Military Settlers, and Others in the 
Three Special POW Camps, Along with Those Held in the Prisons of 
the Western Regions of Ukraine and Belorussia, Accepted by the Polit- 
buro, 5 March 1940, Moscow 

APRF, f. 3, sealed packet no. 1, typed original; KDi/zi6 with facsimile, 
KDZi/zi6 with facsimile. First published in the Russian press on 14 Oc- 
tober 1992; New York Times, 15 October 1992. For the Russian text with 
Polish translation, see Wojciech Materski, ed. and trans., Katyri: Doku- 
menty Ludobojstwa (Warsaw, 1992) [henceforth KDL]; English version, 
Wojciech Materski, ed., with an introduction by Janusz Zawodny, Katyn: 
Documents of Genocide (Warsaw, 1993) [henceforth KDG], no. 9. 


48. Soprunenko's Instruction to Korolev at Kozelsk Camp on Transferring 
POWs to the Smolensk Oblast UNKVD, 7 March 1940, Moscow 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. 2e, d. 9, 1. 296; typewritten copy; KDZzI 
5; the English translation from the Polish is by A. M. Cienciala. 


List of Documents with Sources 

49. Beria's Directive to Soprunenko on Compiling Lists of Polish POWs 
and Family Members, 7 March 1940, Moscow 

TsA FSB RF, f. 3, op. 7, port. 13, 11. 46-47, typed copy; KDi Supple- 
ment, Rasstrel (henceforth R) 1, facsimile (all Rasstrel documents are fac- 
similes and are given at the end of KDi beginning with p. 523 ); also KD2I 
3, XDZ2/3. First published in S. V. Stepashin et al., eds., Organy Gosu- 
darstvennoi Bezopasnosti SSSR v Velikoi Otechestvennoi Voine: Sbornik 
Dokumentov [State Security Organs of the USSR in the Great Fatherland 
War: Documentary Collection], vol. I (Moscow, 1995), book 1, no. 74, 
PP- 157-158. 

50. Record Form Used for the Families of Prisoners of War, 7 March 1940, 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 3a, d. 2, 11. 308-310, typed original; KD2/4, KDZ2/4. 

51. Record Form for a Polish Prisoner of War, 16 March 1940, Moscow 
RGVA, f. i/p, op. re, d. 1, p. 237, typed copy; KDi, R 2; also KDz/8, 

and facsimile no. 8, p. 664 (facsimiles in KD2 are at the end of the volume 
beginning with p. 663 and have the same numbers as the documents); 
KDZ2/17 with facsimile. 

52. Beria's Directive to the Commissar of Internal Affairs, Kazakh SSR, 
GB Senior Major Semyon Burdakov, on the Resettlement in Kazakhstan 
of Polish POW Families to Be Deported from the Western Oblasts of 
Ukraine and Belorussia, 20 March 1940, Moscow 

TsA FSB RF, f. 3, op. 7, port. 14, 11. 68-70, typed copy; KDi, R 3; also 
KD 2/ it, KDZz/ Z4. 

53. Beria's Order no. 00350 on "Clearing Out" the NKVD Prisons in the 
Western UkSSR and BSSR, 22 March 1940, Moscow 

GARF, f. 9401, op. 1, d. 552, 11. 207-219, typed original; KDi, R 4; 

54. Soprunenko's Instruction to [Aleksandr G.] Berezhkov, Starobelsk 
Camp, on Sending Information about Polish POWs to the USSR NKVD 
UPV, 30 March 1940, Moscow 

TsA FSB RF, f. 3, op. 7, port. 636, 1. 35, handwritten original on NKVD 
outgoing cipher telegram form; KD2/18, KDZ2/48 with facsimile. 

55. Soprunenko's Directive to Borisovets on Sending Forty-Nine Polish 
POWs from Ostashkov Camp to the Commander of the Kalinin Oblast 
UNKVD, 1 April 1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 3e, 11. 6-8, typewritten original; KDi, R 6; also KDZ 

56. Soprunenko's Directive to the Heads of Ostashkov, Starobelsk, and 

List of Documents with Sources 


Kozelsk Camps on Receiving Lists of Polish POWs from the NKVD UPV, 
4 April 1940, Moscow 

TsA FSB RF, f. 3, op. 7, port. 636, 1. 41, handwritten original on NKVD 
outgoing cipher telegram form; KDi, R 7; also KDZ2/56. 

57. Soprunenko's Instruction to the Heads of Ostashkov, Starobelsk, and 
Kozelsk Camps on Sending Agent Record Files to the NKVD UPV, 4 April 
1940, Moscow 

TsA FSB RF, f. 3, op. 7, port. 636, 1. 42, original, handwritten message 
on NKVD outgoing cipher telegram form; KDi, R 8; also KD2/23, and 
facsimile no. 23, p. 666; KDZ2/57 with facsimile. 

58. Beria's Directive to UkSSR and BSSR People's Commissars of Internal 
Affairs Serov and Tsanava to Arrest NCOs of the Former Polish Army in 
Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, 4 April 1940, Moscow 

TsA FSB RF, f. 3, op. 7, port. 14, 1. 289, typed copy; KDi, R 9; also 
KD2/22, KDZ2/55. First published in Organy, vol. I, book 1, no. 80, 
pp. 167-168. 

59. Receipt for 343 Polish POWs, 5 April 1940, Kalinin 

RGVA, f. 18444, °P- z -> d- 278, p. 142, handwritten original on NKVD 
incoming cipher telegram form; KDi, R 10, p. 539; also KD2/25, and fac- 
simile no. 25, p. 667; KDZ2/59 with facsimile. 

60. Report from Dmitry Tokarev, UNKVD, Kalinin Oblast, to Merkulov 
on the Implementation of the First Order, 5 April 1940, Kalinin 

TsA FSB RF, f. 3, op. 7, port. 649, 1. 808, copy on NKVD incoming ci- 
pher telegram form; KDi, R 11, and KD2/26 with facsimile no. 26, 
p. 668; KDZ2/60 with facsimile. 

61. Solomon Milshtein's Report to Merkulov on the Rail Transport of 
Polish POWs from Kozelsk to Smolensk for 4 April 1940, 5 April 1940, 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 4 e, d. 13, 1. 49, typed original; KDi, R 13, and KD2I 
27; KDZ2/61 with facsimile. 

62. Soprunenko's Instruction to Korolev on Sending Eighty-Nine Polish 
POWs from Kozelsk Camp to the Head of the Smolensk Oblast UNKVD, 
6 April 1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 3e, d. 3, 11. 411-416, typed copy; KDi, R 14 (Russian 
spelling of names); KDZ2/69, with facsimile of p. 1 (Polish spelling of 

63. Report by USSR NKVD UPV on the Number of Polish POWs Held in 
NKVD and Narkomchermet Camps According to Rank or Profession, 
not earlier than 8 April 1940, Moscow 


List of Documents with Sources 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. oie, d. 3, 11. 142-146, typed copy; KD2/34, KDZ2/77. 

64a. SNK Resolution Confirming the Deportation from Western UkSSR 
and BSSR of Individuals as Specified in the SNK Decision of 2 March 
1940, 10 April 1940, Moscow 

GARF, f. 5446, op. 57, d. 68, 11. 123-128, typed original; Beria's cover 
letter to Molotov and SNK resolution, KDi, R 12, R 12a; resolution also 
in KD2/36 and facsimile no. 36, pp. 669-670; cover letter, resolution 
(and instruction) with facsimile of cover letter and p. 1 of resolution, 
XDZ2/81. Draft resolution and instruction sent to SNK on 5 April 1940, 
first published in Organy, vol. I, book 1, no. 81, pp. 168-171. 

64b. Instruction on the Deportation of Specified Persons from the Western 
Oblasts of UkSSR and BSSR, 10 April 1940, Moscow 

GARF, f. 5446, op. 57, d. 68, 11. 123-128, original; KDi, R 17; also KDzl 
36 and KDZ2/81 with facsimiles of Beria's cover letter to Molotov and 
first page of Instruction. First published in Organy, vol. I, book 1, no. 81. 

65. Korolev's Report to Soprunenko on the Number of Polish POWs Dis- 
patched from Kozelsk Camp, 11 April 1940, Kozelsk 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 2, d. 9, 1. 326, typed original on Kozelsk camp com- 
mand form; KDi, R 19; also KD2/37 and XDZ2/87. 

66. Ivan Khokhlov's Instruction to Zaporozhye Camp Commander L. P. 
Lebedev to Seek Out Policemen and Officers among Polish POWs, 14 
April 1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. ze, d. 13, 1. 3 5, typed copy; KD2/41, KDZz/ 9 6. 

67. Political Report of the USSR NKVD UPV to Merkulov on the Mood of 
Polish POWs Dispatched from the Three Special Camps, 22 April 1940, 

RGVA, f. 3, op. 1, d. 1, 11. 145-153, typed original; KDzl '53, KDZz/izj. 

68. Khokhlov's Instruction to Camp Heads on Sending the Record Files 
for Hospitalized Polish POWs to the USSR NKVD UPV, 22 April 1940, 

TsA FSB RF, f. 3, op. 7, port. 63 6, 1. 61, handwritten original on NKVD 
outgoing cipher telegram form; KDi, R 26; also KDzl ^z and KDZz/iz6. 

69. NKVD UPV Directive to the Heads of Ostashkov, Kozelsk, and Staro- 
belsk Camps on Sending Certain Prisoners to Yukhnov Camp, 22 April 
1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p,op. 4 e, d. 13, 1. 119, typed copy; KD2/51, KDZ2/124. 

70. Arkady Gertsovsky's Instruction to Khokhlov on Submitting Certain 
POW Files for Examination, 25 April 1940, Moscow 

List of Documents with Sources 


RGVA, f. i/p, op. 2e, d. 13, 11. 129-130, handwritten original; KDzl 
59 ,KDZz/t 37 . 

71. Gertsovsky to Khokhlov on Sending Polish POW S. Swianiewicz, Held 
in Kozelsk Camp, into the Charge of the USSR NKVD, 28 April 1940, 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. ie, d. 10, 1. 465, typed original on NKVD letterhead 
form; KDi, ft 3 5; also KDzl 6s, XDZ2/149. First published in O. V. Yas- 
nova, ed., Katynskaia Drama: Kozelsk, Starobelsk, Ostasbkov: Sudba In- 
ternirovannykh Polskikh Voennosluzhasbchykh [The Katyn Drama: Ko- 
zelsk, Starobelsk, Ostashkov: The Fate of the Interned Polish Servicemen] 
(Moscow, 1991), in the section "Dokumenty" (facsimiles on unnumbered 
pages following end of text). 

72. Summary Report on the Dispatch of Polish POWs from Ostashkov 
Camp between 6 and 29 April, after 29 April 1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 2e, d. 11, 1. 143, handwritten original; KDi, R 36; 
also KD2/66, KDZ2/152 with facsimile. 

73. Soprunenko's Report on the Cases against Polish POWs in Ostashkov, 
Starobelsk, and Kozelsk Camps, 3 May 1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. oie, d. 3, 1. 173, typewritten copy; KDi, R 38; also 
KDz/68,KDZz/i 55 . 

74. Soprunenko's Report on POWs Left in Camps, not earlier than 5 May 
1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. oie, d. 3, 1. 175, typed copy; KDz/71, KDZz/163. 

75. Deputy People's Commissar for Internal Affairs Chernyshov's Direc- 
tive to G. I. Antonov on Transporting Polish POWs from the Krivoy Rog 
Basin to the Northern Railway Camp, 10 May 1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 2e, d. 8, 11. 293-294, typed copy; KDi, R 39; also 
KDz/ 7i , KDZ2/170. 

76. Korolev's Report on the Number of Orders for Polish POW Death 
Transports and the Number of Prisoners Dispatched from Kozelsk Camp 
to Smolensk, Moscow, and Yukhnov According to USSR NKVD UPV 
Lists, 14 May 1940, Kozelsk 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 2e, d. 9, 11. 363-364, typewritten original; KDi, R 
40; also KDz/79, KDZzI 184 with facsimile. 

77. Borisovets's Report on the Dispatch of Polish POWs Sent to Kalinin 
Oblast UNKVD and the Number Remaining in the Camp, 17 May 1940, 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 2e, d. n, 1. 395, typed original; KDi, R 43 (cover let- 
ter); also KDz/80 (with list of POWS remaining in camp), KDZ2/193 
(cover letter) with facsimile. 


List of Documents with Sources 

78. Berezhkov's Letter to Soprunenko on the Number of Lists Received 
and the Number of Polish POWs Dispatched from Starobelsk Camp be- 
tween 5 April and 12 May 1940, with Reports Attached, 18 May 1940, 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 2e, d. 10, 11. 219-223, typed original; KDi, R 44; 
also KDz/8z,KDZz/ 196. 

79. UPV Information on the Implementation of Orders to Send Polish 
POWs from the Special Camps into the Charge of the UNKVD of the Cor- 
responding Oblasts, not earlier than 19 May 1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. oie, d. 3, 11. 203-204, typed copy, unsigned; KDi, R 
45; also KDZ2/203 with facsimile. 

80. Petition from the Children of Polish POWs to Stalin to Release Their Fa- 
thers from Ostashkov Camp, 20 May 1940, Rozovka, Zaporozhye Oblast 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 4e, d. 1, 1. 79, handwritten original in Russian; KDi, 
R 46; also KD2/85, KDZ2/206 with facsimile. 

81. Command Order to the 136th Detached Convoy Battalion on the Suc- 
cessful Execution of the Assignment to "Clear Out" Kozelsk Camp, 21 
May 1940, Smolensk 

RGVA, f. 38106, op. 1, d. 10, 1. 145, typed original; KDi, R 47; also 
KDz/87, KDZz/209 with facsimile. 

82. Tokarev's Report to Merkulov on Sixty-Four Executions Carried Out, 
22 May 1940, Kalinin 

TsA FSB RF, f. 3. op. 7, port. 649, 1. 1170, typed copy on NKVD in- 
coming cipher telegram form; KDi, R 48; also KDz/88, KDZz/zn with 

83. Borisovets's Report to Soprunenko on the Sojourn of Polish POWs in 
Ostashkov Camp, 25 May 1940, Ostashkov 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 16, d. 5, 11. 51-55, typed original; KDz/91, KDZzI 

84. UPV Report on the Number of Polish POWs Dispatched from the Spe- 
cial Camps into the Charge of Three Oblast UNKVDs and to Yukhnov 
Camp, before 25 May 1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 3a, d. 2, 1. 273, typed original; KDi, R 49; also KDz/ 
90, and facsimile no. 90, p. 672; KDZ2/215 with facsimile. 


85. Soprunenko's Report on the Number of Polish POWs Dispatched to 
Yukhnov Camp from the Special Camps and the Grounds on Which They 
Were Sent There, after 25 May 1940, Moscow 

List of Documents with Sources 


RGVA, f. i/p, op. 4e, d. 13, 1. 420, typed original; KDi, R 50; also 
KD2/92, and facsimile of doc. 92, p. 673; KDZ2/219. 

86. Report on the Number, Ranks, and Professions of Polish POWs in Gri- 
azovets Camp as of 1 July 1940, 1 July 1940, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. ie, d. 3, 11. 194-195, typed copy; KD2/103, KDZ3/2. 

87. Protocol on the Destruction of POW Correspondence, 23 July 1940, 

TsKhlDK [RGVA], f. i/p, op. 2e, d. 10, 1. 268, typed original; KDZzI 
Aneks [Annex] I/2. 

88. Soprunenko's Instruction to the Head of Starobelsk Camp and the 
Head of the Camp OO to Destroy POW Files, 10 September 1940, 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 2e,d. 10, 11. 283-284, typed copy; KD2/121, KDZ3I 

89. Special Report to Beria by the UNKVD Head for the Vologda Region, 
Pyotr Kondakov, on the Counterrevolutionary Activities of Some Polish 
POWs in Griazovets Camp, 29 September 1940, Vologda 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 4b, d. 5, 11. 222-225, typed original on NKVD 
Vologda Oblast form; KD2/124, KDZ3/52 with facsimile of p. 1. 

90. Beria's Order on Rewards for NKVD Workers for "Clearing Out" the 
Prisons and the Three Special Camps, 26 October 1940, Moscow 

TsA FSB RF, f. 66, op. 1, port. 544, 11. 252-257, typed original; KDz/ 
128, _KDZ2/Aneks 1/6 with facsimiles of first and last pages. 

91. Note from Beria to Stalin on the Possible Organization of Military 
Units with Polish and Czech Prisoners of War, 2 November 1940, 

APRF, f. 3, op. 50, d. 413, 11. 152-153, original on NKVD USSR letter- 
head paper; KD2/130, KDZ3/74 (11. 152-157, including short biogra- 
phies). First published in Wojciech Materski, trans, and ed., Z Archiwow 
Sowieckich [From the Soviet Archives], vol. 1: Polscy Jericy Wojenni w 
ZSSR 1939-1941 [Polish Prisoners of War in the USSR, 1939-1941] 
(Warsaw, 1992), no. 7. 

92. Gorlinsky and Rodionov to Soprunenko on the 1 May Festivities for 
the Berling Group in Malakhovka, no later than 24 April 1941, Moscow 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. 5a, d. 2, 1. 191, typed original; KDZ3 /140 with fac- 
simile, translated from the Russian by A. M. Cienciala. 

93. Excerpt from the Politburo Protocols on the Decision to Create a Pol- 
ish Division in the Red Army, 4 June 1941, Moscow 

APRF, f. 30, op. 50, d. 283, 1. 141, copy; KD2/153, KDZ3/153 (f. 3). 
First published in Materski, Z Archiwow Sowieckich, vol. 1, no. 8. 


List of Documents with Sources 

94. Polish-Soviet Agreement on Reestablishing Diplomatic Relations and 
Forming a Polish Army in the USSR, 30 July 1941, London 

DVT, vol. XXIV (Moscow, 2000), no. 136; and KD2/165 (Russian text, 
minus the Secret Protocol later dropped by the Polish government); Polish 
text, KDZ3/189 (minus the Secret Protocol), after Dziennik Polski [The 
Polish Daily] (London), 31 July 1941; the English translation of the offi- 
cial Polish text given here with the Secret Protocol is from DPSR, vol. I, 
no. 106. 

95. Polish-Soviet Military Agreement, 14 August 1941, Moscow 

DVP, vol. XXIV, no 165 (Russian text); the English translation of the 
Polish text given here is from DPSR, vol. I, no. 112; KDZ3/198 (Polish 
translation of DPSR, vol. I, no. 112). 

96. UPVI Report on Polish POWs in NKVD Camps, 1939-1941, with At- 
tachment, 3 December 1941, Kuibyshev 

RGVA, f. i/p, op. ie, d. 4, 11. 3-4, handwritten original; KD2/175 and 
facsimile no. 175, p. 680; KDZ3/217 (gives Moscow as place of origin). 

97. Conversation of Stalin and Molotov with General Wladyslaw Sikor- 
ski, Polish Premier; General Wladyslaw Anders, Commander of the Polish 
Army in the USSR; and Professor Stanislaw Kot, Polish Ambassador to the 
USSR, 3 December 1941, Moscow 

APRF, 048, op. 52a, p. [papka — folder] 458, d. 2, 11. 29-49, typed orig- 
inal; KD2/176, KDZ3/ZZ1. Russian text first published in Mezhdunarod- 
naia Zhizn [International Life], no. 12 (Moscow, 1990), pp. 134-140; for 
the original Polish record, see Stanislaw Kot, Rozmowy z Kremlem [Con- 
versations with the Kremlin] (London, 1956), pp. 153 -171; and Wladys- 
law Anders, Bez Ostatniego Rozdzialu: Wspomnienia z Lat 1939-1946 
[Minus the Last Chapter: Memoirs of the Years 1939-1946] (3rd edition, 
London, 1959), pp. 87-101. (Kot dictated the record to Anders who took 
part in the conversation and acted as translator.) An English translation of 
the Polish record is in DPSR, vol. I, no. 1 59; also in the English versions of 
the Kot and Anders books (see Part HI, note 8). 

98. Molotov's Telegram to the Soviet Ambassador in London, Aleksandr 
Bogomolov, on Stalin's Conversation with Anders, 21 March 1942, Mos- 

APRF, f. 3, op. 66, d. 63, 11. 132-133, typed copy; KDZ3/232. First 
published in Wojciech Materski, trans, and ed., Z Archiwow Sowieckich 
[From the Soviet Archives], vol. 2: Armia Polska w ZSSR ly^i-iy^z 
[The Polish Army in the USSR, 1941-1942] (Warsaw, 1992), no. 7. An 
English translation of the Polish record of the Stalin- Anders conversation 
is in DPSR, vol. I, no. 193. 

List of Documents with Sources 


99. Beria's Note to Stalin on the Polish Army's Evacuation to Iran, 4 April 
1942, Moscow 

APRF, f. 3, op. 66, d. 63, 1. 138, original typed on NKVD USSR letter- 
head paper; KD2/180; KDZ3/236 with facsimile. First published in 
Materski, Z Arcbiwow Sowieckich, vol. 2, no. 10. The English translation 
from the Russian given here is by A. M. Cienciala. 

100. Telegram from Mikhail Koptelov, Consul General of the USSR in 
Pahlavi, to Stalin on the Completion of the Polish Army's Evacuation from 
the USSR, 5 September 1942, Pahlavi, Iran 

APRF, f. 3, op. 66, d. 63, 1. 159, typed copy; KDZ3 /240. First published 
in Materski, Z Arcbiwow Sowieckich, vol. 2, no. 13. The English trans- 
lation from the Russian given here (with slight stylistic modifications by 
A. M. Cienciala) is from Materski, Kremlin versus Poland, no. 6. 

101. Radio Communique on the Discovery of Graves of Polish Officers in 
the Smolensk Area, 13 April 1943, Berlin, 9:15 a.m. 

Zbrodnia Katynska w Swietle Dokumentow [The Katyn Crime in the 
Light of Documents] (10th edition, London, 1982), p. 85 (Polish transla- 
tion from German); KD2/186 (Russian translation from Polish); the En- 
glish translation from the German given here is from DPSR, vol. I, no. 
305; see also The Crime of Katyn: Facts and Documents (London, 1965), 
pp. 101-102. 

102. Communique Issued by the Sovinformburo Attacking the German 
"Fabrications" about the Graves of Polish Officers in Katyn Forest, 15 
April 1943, Moscow 

KD2/187, after Pravda (Moscow), 16 April 1943; KDZ4/3; the En- 
glish text given here is from DPSR, vol. I, no 306, after Soviet War Neivs 
(London), no. 541, 17 April 1943. 

103. Statement of the Polish Government Concerning the Discovery of the 
Graves of Polish Officers near Smolensk, 17 April 1943, London 

Polish text in Dariusz Baliszewski and Andrzej Krzysztof Kunert, eds., 
Prawdziwa Historia Polakow: Ilustrowane Wypisy Zrodlowe, 1939- 
194S [The Real History of the Poles: Illustrated Selections from Primary 
Sources, 1939-1945], vol. 2: 1943-1944 (Warsaw 1999), p. 1016, after 
Dziennik Polski (London), 19 April 1943; KDZ4/5. The English transla- 
tion given here (with slight stylistic modifications by A. M. Cienciala) is 
from DPSR, vol. I, no. 308. 

104. Note from Molotov to Polish Ambassador Tadeusz Romer on the So- 
viet Government's Decision to Break Off Relations with the Polish Gov- 
ernment, 25 April 1943, Moscow 

KD2/192, after Vneshnaia Politika Sovestskogo Soiuza w Period Ve- 


List of Documents with Sources 

likoi Otechestvennoi Voiny [Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union in the Pe- 
riod of the Great Fatherland War], vol. I (Moscow, 1944), pp. 301-303; 
KDZ4 /i 6; the English text given here is from DPSR, vol. I, no. 313; for 
a Polish translation of the Russian text, see Baliszewski and Kunert, 
Prawdziwa Historia, vol. 2, p. 1045. 

105a. Report by the Secretary of the Polish Red Cross, Kazimierz Skar- 
zyhski, on the PRC Technical Commission's Visit to Smolensk and Katyn, 
15-16 April 1943 (Excerpts), June 1943, Warsaw 

Polish text in Kazimierz Skarzyhski, Katyn (2nd edition, Paris, 1990), 
pp. 11-19, translated by A. M. Cienciala. 

105b. Report of the Polish Red Cross Technical Commission on Its Work 
in Katyn, April-June 1943 (Excerpts), June 1943, Warsaw 

For this report, edited by Kazimierz Skarzyhski, see his Katyn, pp. 39- 
48; the excerpts here were translated into English by A. M. Cienciala; 
KD2/199, Russian translation of the report published in Czeslaw Madaj- 
czyk, Dramat Katynski (Warsaw, 1989), pp. 150-159. The full Polish text 
was first published in the weekly Odrodzenie [Rebirth], no. 7 (Warsaw, 
1989); KDZ4/34. For Skarzyhski's testimony before the U.S. Congres- 
sional Committee of Inquiry (Madden Committee) see The Katyn Forest 
Massacre: Hearings before the Select Committee to Conduct an Investiga- 
tion of the Facts, Evidence, and Circumstances of the Katyn Massacre, 
Eighty-second Congress, 1st and 2nd Sessions, 1951-1952 (Washington, 
1952), part 3, pp. 394-415- 

106. The Burdenko Commission Report (Excerpts), 24 January 1944, 

GARF, f. 7445, op. 114, d. 8, 11. 317-348, "Projekt" [Draft], original; 
KD2/215; final Russian text, Pravda (Moscow), 26 January 1944; KDZ4/ 
67; the English text given here is from the Special Supplement to the Soviet 
War Weekly (London, 1944). For a reprint of the full English text, see 
Crime of Katyn, chap. 8. 

107. Instructions on the "Katyn Matter" Sent by the Special Government 
Commission for Directing the Nuremberg Trials to Roman Rudenko, 
Chief Soviet Prosecutor at Nuremberg, 15 March 1946, Moscow 

GARF, f. 7445, op. 2, d. 391, 11. 61-63, copy; KD2/220; KDZ4/80. 

108. Meeting of the Soviet Special Government Commission for Directing 
the Nuremberg Trials, 24 May 1946, Moscow 

GARF, f. 7445, op. 2, d. 391, 11. 50-51, original; KD2/223. 

109. Conclusions of the Congressional Select Committee to Conduct an 
Investigation of the Katyn Forest Massacre (Excerpts), 22 December 
1952, Washington, D.C. 

List of Documents with Sources 


Hearings on the Katyn Massacre. 8znd Congress, House Report 
no. 2505. Conclusions of the Select Committee (Washington, 1952), 
pp. 8864, 9240; reprinted in 100th Congress, Congressional Serial Set, 
vol. 13875, House Document no. 100-183 (Washington, D.C., 1988), 
and in Crime of Katyn, pp. 291-293; KD2/226 (excerpts in Russian 
translation); KDZ4/92. 

110. Note by Shelepin to Khrushchev, 3 March 1959, Proposing to De- 
stroy the Documents of the Operation Sanctioned by the Politburo on 5 
March 1940, 3 March 1959, Moscow 

APRF, f. 3, sealed packet no. 1, handwritten original; KDi, R 52; also 
XD2/227 with facsimile no. 227, pp. 684-685; XDZ2/Aneks I/11 with 
facsimile (following p. 416); KDZ4/93. The English translation given 
here (with slight stylistic modifications by A. M. Cienciala) is from Mater- 
ski, KDG, no. 5. 

in. Politburo Resolution and Instruction for the Soviet Ambassador in 
London Regarding the Projected Katyn Monument, 2 March 1973, 
Moscow (Excerpt) 

APRF, f. 3, op. 78, d. 1617, 11. 100-102, copy on Central Committee 
letterhead paper; KD2/230; the English version given here (with slight 
stylistic modifications by A. M. Cienciala) is from Materski, KDG, nos. 
13, 14. 

112. Politburo Protocol no. 3 on Measures to Counteract Western Propa- 
ganda on the Katyn Question (Excerpt), 5 April 1976, Moscow 

APRF, 3, op. 78, d. 1618, 11. 63-68, copy on letterhead paper used for 
excerpts from the protocols of the Politburo CC CPSU; KDzl 23 1; KDZ4/ 
101. The English version given here (with slight stylistic modifications by 
A. M. Cienciala) is from Materski, KDG, no. 15. 

113. Note to the CC CPSU "On the Katyn Question" by Soviet Foreign 
Minister Eduard Shevardnadze; Valentin Falin, Director of the Interna- 
tional Department of the CC CPSU; and Vladimir Kriuchkov, Chairman 
of the KGB USSR, 22 March 1989, Moscow 

APRF, f. 3, copy, XD2/233; KDZ4/114. The English translation given 
here (with slight stylistic modifications by A. M. Cienciala) is from Mater- 
ski, KDG, no. 19. 

114. Politburo Protocol no. 152: Instruction by Mikhail S. Gorbachev to 
the Prosecutor's Office and Other State and Party Agencies to Propose the 
Future Soviet Line on Katyn (Excerpt), 31 March 1989, Moscow 

APRF, f. 3, sealed packet no. 1, KDZ4/115. The English translation 
given here (slightly modified by A. M. Cienciala) is from Materski, KDG, 
no. 20. 


List of Documents with Sources 

115. Note on the Katyn Question to the CC CPSU, 22 April 1989, 

The English translation given here (slightly modified by A. M. Cien- 
ciala) from Materski, KDG, no. 21; see also KDZ4/116. 

116. Falin's Note on Katyn for Mikhail Gorbachev, 23 February 1990, 

APRF, f. 3, op. 113, d. 260, 11. 187-190, original; KD2/234; KDZ4/ 
118. The English translation given here (slightly modified by A. M. Cien- 
ciala) is from Materski, KDG, no. 23. 

117. TASS Communique on Katyn, 13 April 1990, Moscow 
KD2/235, after Izvestia, no. 104, Moscow, 13 April 1990. The TASS 

communique was published with slightly different wording in the world 
press the next day; see New York Times and Times (London), 14 April 

118. Decree by President Gorbachev, in Connection with the Visit of Pol- 
ish Minister of Foreign Affairs Krzysztof Skubiszewski, on Speeding Up 
the Investigation of the Fate of the Polish Officers Held in the Three Spe- 
cial Camps (Excerpt), 3 November 1990, Moscow 

KDZ4/1Z6. The English translation given here (with slight modifica- 
tions by A. M. Cienciala) is from Materski, KDG, no. 24. 

119. Letter from President Lech Walesa to President Boris Yeltsin Thank- 
ing Him for the Documents on Katyn, 15 October 1992, Warsaw 

Archiwum Urzedu Prezydenta R. P. [Archive of the Office of the Presi- 
dent of the Polish Republic], znak sprawy [reference no.] 87/11, GP 049- 
206-92, translated by A. M. Cienciala. 

120. Letter from President Yeltsin to President Walesa on the Fifty-fifth 
Anniversary of the Katyn Tragedy, 22 May 1995, Moscow 

APRF, f. 92, op. 4, d. A 1-1-61-1995, 11. 211-213, copy signed by B. 
Yeltsin on paper with the letterhead of the president of the Russian Feder- 
ation; XD2/236. 

111. Speech by Jerzy Buzek, Prime Minister of Poland, at the Ceremonial 
Opening of the Polish War Cemetery at Katyn, 28 July 2000, Katyn 

Przesztos'c i Pamiec [The Past and Memory], no. 3 (Warsaw, 2000), 
pp. 34-35; KDZ4/14Z. The English translation from the Polish is by A.M. 
Cienciala; KD2/238 (Russian translation of the Polish text; the date is er- 
roneously given as 2 September, but the correct date appears in the vol- 
ume's list of documents). 

List of Documents with Sources 


122. Speech by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Vik- 
tor Khristenko, at the Opening of the Katyn Memorial Complex, 28 July 
2000, Katyn 

Published according to the shorthand report attached to the video 
record of V. Khristenko's speech at Katyn on 28 July 2000, KD2/239; 

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Appendix of Camp Statistics 

TABLE 1 USSR NKVD Camps for Polish Prisoners of War, September 
1939-March 1942 

Griazovets camp 7 km from the town of Griazovets, Vologda Oblast, 8 

km from the Griazovets Rail Station, in a former 

Kozelshchansk camp Kozelshchina, Poltava Oblast, 500 m from the 

Kozelshchina Rail Station. 
Oranki camp Oranki Village, Gorky Oblast, in a former monastery. 

Putivl camp former Safronievsky monastery, 40 km from Putivl, 

Sumy Oblast, and 12 km from Tiotkino, on the peat 


Vologda camp near Zaonikeyevo, Vologda Oblast. 

Yukhnov camp Town of Yukhnov, Smolensk Oblast, 32 km from the 

Babynino Rail Station, 500 m from the village of 
Shchelkanovo, Yukhnov Rayon. 

Yuzha camp 30 km from the town of Yuzha, Smolensk Oblast, at 


Kozelsk camp Kozelsk, Smolensk (Kaluga) Oblast, 8 km from 

the town of Kozelsk, in the Optina Pustyn 

Ostashkov camp Ostashkov, Kalinin (Tver) Oblast, Stolbny Island on 

Lake Seliger. 

Starobelsk camp Starobelsk, Voroshilovgrad (Luhansk) Oblast. 

Krivoy Rog camp Several sections in the Krivoy Rog basin, including 

Dzherzhinskruda, Oktiabrruda, Lenruda, Nikopol- 
Marganets, and Glavspetstal mines. 

Rovno camp Town of Rovno, Rovno Oblast; sections of the camp 

were located all along the highway under construc- 
tion between Novograd, Volynsky, and Lvov. 

Zaporozhye camp Bolshoe Zaporozhye town, Zaporozhye Oblast, 15 km 

from the center; deportee settlement no. 9. 

Yeleno-Karakuba camp located in the Stalin Oblast in the deportee settlements 
of Yelenovka, Karakub, Karakubstroi (Karakuba 
Construction Plant), and the village of Novo-Troit- 
skoe. In April 1940, the camp was divided into two 
camps: Yeleno and Karakub. 

Source: KDJ/Prilozheme [Annex] 5, p. 439; KDZJ/Aneks 6, p. 501. 

TABLE 2 A Kozelsk Camp, November 1939 -March 1940 

Ranks and 1939 1940 


ofPOWs 29 Nov. 31 Dec. 9 Jan. 20 Jan. 4 Feb. 22 Feb. 16 Mar. 1 Apr. 




























Lieutenant Colonels 
























Naval Captains 









Naval Captains 

2nd rank 









Naval Captains 

1st rank 









Other Officers 









Military Clergy 















Higher State Officials 









Rank-and-File [Soldiers] 









Subject to Dispatch 


















Source: Tables 2A-D were compiled on the basis of UPV information in RGASPI, f. 1/p, op. Ole, d. 3, pp. 8-37; d. 2, pp. 236-240, 292-295. First published 
in N. S. Lebedeva, Katyn: Frestuplenie Protiv Chelovechestva (Moscow, 1994), pp. 325-328, they are reproduced in the Polish version of that volume, Katyri: 
Zbrodnia Przeciwko Ludzkosci (Warsaw, 1998), Aneksy, p. 318; also in KDJ/Prilozhenia 1-4, pp. 435-439; KDZJ/Aneksy 1-4, pp. 481-484. 

TABLE 2B Ostashkov Camp, November 1939-March 1940 

Ranks and 
of POWs 



29 Nov. 

31 Dec. 

9 Jan. 

20 Jan. 

4 Feb. 

22 Feb. 

16 Mar. 

Police and Gendarme Officers 








Police and Gendarme NCOs 

6 1 5 






Police and Gendarme Rank 






and File 

Prison Workers 








Intelligence Agents 








Military Rank and File and 







NCOs Subject to Dispatch 

Military Clergy 







[Military] Settlers 
































Source: See table 2A. 

Note: The Polish table in KDZJ/Aneks 3 has slightly lower numbers, which are shown in brackets. More refugees were probably included under "Others." 
*No data available. 

Table 2C Starobelsk Camp, November 1939-March 1940 

Ranks and Categories 









Lieutenant Colonels 











Other Officers 




Military Clergy 








Higher State Officials 



































































Source: See table 2A. 

Note: The Polish table in KDZ1 /Aneks 4 has slightly different numbers, which are listed here in brackets. 
'"Additional column only in Polish volume. 

Table 2D Number of Prisoners of War in USSR NKVD UPV Camps, November 1939-March 1940 


Special Camps 

Narkomchermet Camps 

in UPV 





Starobelsk Kozelsk 






Nikopol Zaporozhye 


29 Nov. 













31 Dec. 













9 Jan. 












20 Jan. 












4 Feb. 











22 Feb. 










16 Mar. 











Source: See table 2A. 

Note: The Polish table in KDZJ/Aneks 1 has several different numbers, which are listed here in brackets. 
*1,154 men were transferred to the new Nikopol camp. 

Biographical Sketches 

These biographical sketches of selected Polish and Russian officers, offi- 
cials, and others are based on information in KD1-2 and KDZi- 3 as well 
as biographical dictionaries, biographies, articles, and various sources 
printed and online. Some specialized information was supplied by Dr. Na- 
talia S. Lebedeva, Institute of General History, Russian Academy of Sci- 
ences, Moscow; Professor Wojciech Materski, director of the Institute of 
Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw; and Dr. Vladimir 
V. Pozniakov, Institute of General History, Russian Academy of Sciences, 

Aleksandrov, Georgy Fedorovich ( 1908 -i960). Soviet party official. Cen- 
tral Committee [CC] of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union 
[CPSU] candidate, 1941-1946; head, CC Propaganda and Agitation 
Department, 1940-1947. Helped organize the Burdenko Commission. 

Anders, Wladyslaw (1892-1970). Polish general; born in former Russian 
Poland. Veteran, Russian Army, 1914-1917; Polish Army, 1918-1925; 
Polish-Soviet War, 1920. Commander, Cavalry Operational Group, 
southeastern Poland, September 1939. Wounded, taken prisoner, and 
imprisoned in Lwow [Lviv], then Moscow, September 1939-August 

1941. Commander, Polish Army in the USSR, August 1941-August 

1942, then evacuated to Iran. Commander, Polish Army in the Middle 
East, later the Polish Army 2nd Corps in the British 8 th Army, Italy, 
1943-1945; took Monte Cassino on 18 May 1944, opening a land 
route to Rome for the Allied armies. Member, Council of Three (emigre 
political leaders), London, 1954-1970. Died in London; buried, Polish 
Military Cemetery, Monte Cassino. Author of memoirs. 

Andreev, Andrei Andreevich (1893-1971). Soviet party and government 
official. Politburo member, 19 3 2- 19 5 2; held many posts, including CC 


Biographical Sketches 

secretary and deputy chairman of Sovnarkom [SNK — Council of Peo- 
ple's Commissars] USSR. 

Andropov, Yuri Vladimirovich (1914-1984). Soviet party official and 
statesman. Soviet ambassador in Hungary, 1954-1956; supervised 
crushing of Hungarian revolution, during and after which he supported 
Hungarian communist leader Janos Kadar. Headed CC CPSU Depart- 
ment of Relations with Communist and Socialist Parties of Socialist 
Countries, 1957-1967; head, KGB [Committee on State Security], 
1967-1982; succeeded Leonid Brezhnev as head of CPSU, November 
1982; died in February 1984. 

Antonov, G. I. (b. 1902). Soviet security officer. In 1939, GB [State Secu- 
rity] lieutenant and deputy section head, 2nd Special Department 
NKVD, then instructor in UPV [Administration for Prisoner-of-War Af- 
fairs] Political Department. In March-May 1940, led special NKVD 
brigade to Krivoy Rog camps and organized with A. V. Tishkov the dis- 
patch of Polish POWs to the Sevzheldorlag [Northern Railway camp]. 

Bashlykov, Ivan Mikhailovich (b. 1906). Soviet security official. Militia 
2nd lieutenant, 1939-1940; in Main Administration of the Worker- 
Peasant Police, 1939; head, UPV Secretariat, from late September 1939; 
made frequent inspection trips to POW camps. 

Bashtakov, Leonid Fokeevich (b. 1900). Soviet security official. GB cap- 
tain, 1939; major, 1940. Deputy head, end of 1939, and head, 5 March 
1940, 1st Special Department [Protection of the Government], NKVD. 
By Politburo decision of 5 March 1940, appointed member of the 
Troika assigned to examine cases and decide sentences of Polish POWs 
in the three special POW camps and those in western Belorussian and 
western Ukrainian NKVD prisons. 

Beck, Jozef (1894-1944). Polish foreign minister, December 1932-Sep- 
tember 1939. Pilsudski legionnaire and PO.W [Polish Military Organi- 
zation] member in WWI; military intelligence chief, 1920; military at- 
tache in Paris, 1921-1923; army colonel, diploma 1925; head of 
Pilsudski's cabinet, May 1926-September 1930, then deputy premier. 
Selected by Pilsudski as undersecretary of state in the Ministry of For- 
eign Affairs, he succeeded August Zaleski as foreign minister in Decem- 
ber 1932. During his tenure, Poland remained an ally of France and Ro- 
mania while balancing between the USSR and Nazi Germany, having 
signed nonaggression agreements with each (1932 and 1934, respec- 
tively). He accepted a British guarantee of Polish independence on 31 
March 1939 and oversaw the signing of a provisional agreement on 6 
April 1939 and the conclusion of a Mutual Assistance Treaty with 
Great Britain on 25 August 1939. To avoid Soviet capture, he crossed 

Biographical Sketches 

with the government and general staff into Romania on the night of 17- 
18 September 1939 with intent to proceed to France. He was interned in 
Romania with the rest of the government and died there on 6 June 
1944. Wrote a posthumously published account of Polish foreign policy 
in 1926-1939. 

Belolipetsky, Stepan Yefimovich (b. 1905). Soviet security official. GB 
lieutenant and senior investigator, GUGB [Main Administration for 
State Security], NKVD Investigation Department, 1939-1940. Begin- 
ning on 4 December 1939, led an investigation team to Ostashkov 
camp to help prepare cases against the POWs for presentation to OSO 
[NKVD Special Board] by 1 February 1940. Signed indictments of Pol- 
ish police and prison workers. 

Berezhkov, Aleksandr Georgevich (b. 1885). GB captain, 1939-194Z; 
head of Starobelsk camp, 1939-1941; participated in closing down the 
camp. Head of NKVD camp no. 84 (Sverdlovsk, now Ekaterinburg), 

Beria, Lavrenty Pavlovich (1899-1953). Chief of NKVD [People's Com- 
missariat of Internal Security], 193 8 -1953, and Stalin's right-hand man 
in organizing mass repressions of millions of people. On 3 March 1940 
he submitted to Stalin the resolution to shoot the Polish POWs, ap- 
proved by the Politburo on 5 March. He personally examined all prin- 
cipal issues connected with them and, along with Stalin, bears chief 
responsibility for the execution of Polish officers, police, and other pris- 
oners in spring 1940. Soon after Stalin's death, seen as a threat by 
Nikita Khrushchev and others in new party leadership, he was arrested, 
charged with fabricated "anti-state" crimes — all except the real ones — 
sentenced, and executed, 23 December 1953. 

Berling, Zygmunt (1896-1980). Polish general; born in former Austrian 
Poland. Veteran of Strzeltsy [Riflemen's Association], Polish Legions, 
1914-1917; Polish Army, 191 8-1939. As lieutenant colonel, arrested 
by NKVD in Wilno [Vilnius], 1939; survivor, Starobelsk, Yukhnov, and 
Griazovets camps, 1939-1940. Led a pro-Soviet officer group to work 
out a force structure for a Polish division in the Red Army, 1940-1941; 
in Polish Army under Anders in the USSR, 1941-1942, but stayed in 
the USSR. Promoted to general by Stalin, spring 1943. Commander, 
Kosciuszko Division, then 1st Polish Corps and 1st Polish Army, 1943 - 
1944; member of Polish National Committee of Liberation. Held min- 
isterial posts in Poland, 1953-1957- Author of memoirs. 

Birnbaum, Mieczyslaw (18 89-1940). Polish lieutenant, infantry reserves, 
Warsaw Military District, 193 9. Journalist, writer, and former intelli- 
gence officer. He fought against Ukrainians in Lwow, November 1918, 

Biographical Sketches 

and participated in Polish-Soviet peace negotiations, 1919-1920. Men- 
tioned in NKVD reports as a troublemaker, he was held in Kozelsk 
camp and shot at Katyn. 

Blokhin, V. M. (d. 1955). Soviet security official. One o f the NKVD 's chief 
executioners; he personally murdered more than a thousand people. GB 
major and head, Command Department, AKhU [Administrative-House- 
keeping Board], NKVD, April-May 1940. Director of operations and 
chief executioner of Ostashkov POWs in Kalinin /Tver; rewarded by 
Beria, 26 October 1940, for performing "special tasks." Stripped of his 
rank, November 1954. 

Bober, Jan (b. 1897). Polish police officer. Head, Police Investigation Of- 
fice, Nowogrodek [Belarussian: Novahrudak]. Survivor of Yukhnov 
and Griazovets camps, 1940-1941; mentioned in NKVD reports as 
anti-Soviet. Released in fall 194 1 and served in Polish Army under An- 
ders in the USSR. 

Bohatyrewicz [Bohaterewicz], Bronisiaw (1 870-1940). Polish brigadier 
general, retired. Born in former Russian Poland; major, Russian in- 
fantry, 1914; POW, Germany, 1914-1918. Veteran, Polish-Soviet War; 
on general staff, Central Lithuania, 1922; retired, 1927. In Kozelsk 
camp; shot at Katyn; exhumed in 1943. 

Boldin, Valery Ivanovich (b. 1935). Soviet party official. Aide to Gor- 
bachev, who was then CC secretary of agriculture, 19 81. Head, CC 
General Department, 1988-1989; reported on secret Katyn file to Gor- 
bachev. Member, Presidential Council, March 1990. Joined failed coup 
against Gorbachev, August 1991. Author of memoirs. 

Borisovets, Pavel Fedorovich (b. 1891). Soviet security officer. NKVD ma- 
jor; head, Ostashkov camp, 1939-1940. Participated in "clearing out" 
the camp, spring 1940. Deputy head, Griazovets NKVD camp, 1941. 

B6r-Komorowski, Tadeusz (1895-1966). Polish general; born in former 
Austrian Poland. Veteran, Austro-Hungarian Army, WWI, and Polish 
Army, 1918-1939. Commander, Armia Krajowa [AK — Home Army, 
i.e., underground army], July 1943 -October 1944; led Warsaw Upris- 
ing, 1 August-2 October 1944. In German captivity, 5 October 1944- 
5 May 1945. After World War II, lived in England; died in London. Au- 
thor of book on Home Army. 

Boruta-Spiechowicz, Mieczyslaw Ludwik (1894-1987). Polish general; 
born in former Austrian Poland. Veteran, Riflemen's Association, Pol- 
ish Legions, 1914-1918; commanded operational groups and Army 
"Krakow," September 1939. Interned in Soviet prisons, 1939-1941. 
Indicated an interest in fighting Germans together with Soviets and was 
interviewed by Beria and Merkulov on forming a Polish division in Red 
Army, October 1940. After release in fall 194 1, commanded 5th In- 

Biographical Sketches 


fantry Division, Polish Army, under Anders, in the USSR, 1941-1942; 
in Iran, then Britain, 1942-1945. Returned to Poland, 1945, and in 
Polish People's Army to 1946. Lived near Szczecin [former Stettin] for 
eighteen years, then retired to Zakopane. Member, Movement for De- 
fense of Human and Civic Rights, Poland, 1977-1980; supporter of 
Solidarity movement, 1980-1987. 

Brezhnev, Leonid Ilyich (1906-1982). Soviet party leader and statesman. 
Head of state, 1960-1982, and of CPSU, 1964-1982. Continued 
cover-up of Katyn massacres. Decided on the Warsaw Pact invasion of 
Czechoslovakia, August 1968. Sick in the last years of his life; his duties 
were taken over by Yuri V. Andropov. 

Bukojemski, (Nalecz) Leon (1895-1978). Polish lieutenant colonel. Vet- 
eran, Polish Legions, 1914-1917; Polish Army, 191 8-1939. Survivor, 
Starobelsk and Griazovets camps. In Berling group, 1940-1941; in Pol- 
ish Army under Anders in the USSR, 1941-1942, but stayed in the 
USSR. Co-organizer with Berling of Kosciuszko Division, 1st Polish 
Army, 1943; in Polish People's Army, 1944-1945. 

Bulganin, Nikolai Aleksandrovich (1895-1975). Soviet party official, a 
close collaborator of Stalin's. Held many high posts under Stalin and 
Khrushchev; joined failed coup against Khrushchev, 1957, and lost his 
Presidium CPSU seat in 1958. 

Burdakov, Semyon Nikolaevich (b. 1901). Soviet security official. In 
1939-1940, as a GB major and commissar, NKVD, Kazakh SSR [So- 
viet Socialist Republic], he was in charge of resettling in Kazakhstan the 
deported family members of executed Polish officers, police, and other 

Burdenko, Nikolai Nilovich (1 876-1946). Soviet physician and govern- 
ment official. Pioneer in Soviet neurosurgery; chief surgeon, Red Army, 
in WWII. In 1944, headed the Special State Commission to prove Ger- 
man guilt for the Katyn massacre. Its report was the standard Soviet 
version that prevailed until 13 April 1990. 

Buzek, Jerzy (b. 1940). Polish politician and statesman. Born in Smilowice, 
Silesia, now in the Czech Republic; professor of chemical engineering. A 
leader in the Solidarity movement, 1980-1981, and underground oppo- 
sition, 1981-1989. Helped draw up the economic program of the anti- 
communist Akcja Wyborcza Solidarnosc [AWS — Solidarity Election Ac- 
tion], 1997; prime minister, AWS government, 1997-2001; spoke at the 
opening of Katyn and Mednoe Polish war cemeteries, 28 July and 2 Sep- 
tember 2000. Elected to European Parliament, spring 2004. 

Chechev, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich (b. 1899). Soviet security officer and 
official. GB captain. Head, 2nd Section of Main Prisons Office, NKVD 
USSR, 1939-1941. In charge of transporting Polish prisoners in spring 

Biographical Sketches 

1940 from west Belorussian NKVD prisons to the Minsk NKVD prison, 
where they were likely executed. There are indications that at least some of 
them may be buried at Kuropaty, now within Minsk city boundaries, 
where mass graves of Stalinist victims were discovered in 1988. 

Chekholsky, Danil Lavrentievich (b. 1904). Soviet security official of Pol- 
ish origin. Political instructor in Kozelsk camp, then controller and 
translator in Starobelsk camp. Fired for allowing POW correspondence 
with families after mid-March 1940 and informing relatives that the 
POWs had left the camp, both actions being in violation of NKVD pro- 
hibitions. His fate is unknown. 

Chernyshov, Vasily Vasilievich (1896- 19 5 2). Soviet security official, com- 
missar. Deputy commissar (from 1946, deputy minister), NKVD USSR, 
1937-1952, with rank of lieutenant general. Oversaw GULAG [Main 
Administration of (Labor) Camps] operations, the special camps, and 
the Main Prison Administration. A director of operations to "clear out" 
the three special camps and the prisons of the western oblasts [adminis- 
trative regions] of Ukrainian SSR and Belorussian SSR, as well as trans- 
ferring POWs from Narkomchermet [People's Commissariat of Ferrous 
Metallurgy] camps to Sevzheldorlag and transferring Polish soldiers in- 
terned in Lithuania and Latvia to Kozelsk and Yukhnov camps. 

Czapski, Jozef (1896-1993). Polish artist, painter, and writer; born and 
raised in Moscow. Veteran, Polish-Soviet War, 1919-1920; captain in 
reserves. Spent several years as a painter in Paris. Survivor, Starobelsk 
and Griazovets camps. In Polish Army under Anders in the USSR, 
1941-1942, he searched for missing officers. Later, cultural officer, 
Middle East and Italy. After World War II, settled in Paris and cooper- 
ated with the Polish periodical Kultura there. Author of memoirs. 

Czernicki, Ksawery Stanislaw (1882-1940). Polish rear admiral; born in 
former Russian Vilna [Vilnius, Wilno] Province. Graduated from Kron- 
stadt Naval Engineering School, 1905; lieutenant colonel in Russian 
Navy, naval shipbuilding, 1917. Veteran, Polish Army, 1920-1925; 
member, Naval Command, Warsaw, 1925 -1926; supervised shipbuild- 
ing for Polish Navy in France, 1926-1932; chief of services, Naval 
Command, 1932-1939; commander, evacuation train of Naval Com- 
mand, September 1939. Prisoner in Ostashkov and Kozelsk camps; 
shot at Katyn. 

Dekanozov, Vladimir Georgievich (1898-1953). Soviet diplomat, com- 
missar. Beria's comrade-in-arms from 1921. Stalin's emissary to Lithua- 
nia, July 1940; later, Soviet ambassador to Germany. Deputy commis- 
sar of foreign affairs, 1939-1945. Arrested and executed with Beria, 
December 1953. 

Biographical Sketches 

Dmitriev, Aleksandr Dmitrievich. Soviet security official. In 1940, as GB 
sergeant and, from late March, lieutenant, a member of the 1st Auto- 
base (motor pool), AKhU, NKVD, he was responsible for securing mo- 
tor transport for the execution of Polish POWs and other Polish prison- 
ers. He was rewarded by Beria, 26 October 1940. 

Dmowski, Roman (1864-1939). Polish political writer, ideologue, politi- 
cian, statesman. Born in Warsaw, former Russian Poland; natural sci- 
ences graduate, Russian University, Warsaw. Ideologue and leader of 
National Democratic movement. Worked for Russo-Polish cooperation 
in 1906-1916, then for Polish independence as leader of the Polish Na- 
tional Committee in Western Europe. Co-leader of Polish delegation to 
the Paris Peace Conference and co-signatory for Poland with Ignacy Jan 
Paderewski of the Versailles Treaty, 28 June 1919. Polish foreign minis- 
ter, October-December 1923. Opposed Pilsudski during World War I, 
as well as Polish governments, 1926-1939. 

Domori [Russian misspelling: Domel], Ludwik (b. 1899). Polish major, 
later lieutenant colonel. Survivor, Starobelsk camp, Kharkov prison, the 
GULAG, and Griazovets camp. Chief of staff, 6th Infantry Division, 
Polish Army under Anders in the USSR, 1941-1942, then Polish Army 
2nd Corps, Middle East and Italy. 

Ewert, Mieczyslaw Szczesny (b. 1894). Polish captain, infantry reserves. 
At headquarters of Polish commander in chief, September 1939. Sur- 
vivor, Starobelsk camp, Kharkov prison, and the GULAG. In Polish 
Army under Anders in the USSR, 1941-1942, later Polish Army 2nd 
Corps, Middle East and Italy. 

Falin, Valentin Mihailovich (b. 1926). Soviet party official, diplomat, ad- 
viser to Mikhail S. Gorbachev. In October 1988, succeeded Anatoly 
Dobrynin as head of CC International Department; full CC member, 
1989. Recommended admission of Soviet guilt for the Katyn massacres 
(blaming Beria and Merkulov) and supported Yuri Zoria's archival 
quest for Katyn documents, 1989-1990. Elected to Soviet Congress of 
Deputies and Supreme Soviet, 1989. 

Fediukov, I. I. Soviet security official. GB major. Head, Gorky Oblast 
UNKVD [NKVD Administration], 1939 -194 1. Head of NKVD USSR 
Construction Site no. 1, October 1939-June 1941. 

Fedotov, Pyotr Vasilievich (1898-1963). Soviet security official. Senior 
major, GB; was deputy head of 2nd Department (Counterintelligence), 
GUGB, NKVD USSR, September 1939; appointed head, 2nd Adminis- 
tration NKVD, February 194 1. Participated in organizing executions of 
Polish officers, police, and prisoners held in jails; retired from KGB, 1959. 

Gaididei, Mikhail Mikhailovich (b. 1898). Soviet security official. GB 


Biographical Sketches 

sergeant. Acting head, then head of OO [Special Section], Starobelsk 
camp, late April-May 1940; participated in "clearing out" the camp. 

Geraschchenko, Victor (b. 1937). Soviet, then Russian official. Chairman, 
Executive Board, Soviet State Bank, July 1989; director, Credit-Cur- 
rency Department, International Foundation for Economic and Social 
Reforms, November 199 1. 

Gertsovsky, Arkady Yakovlevich (b. 1904). Soviet security official. GB 
captain and deputy head, 1st Special Department, NKVD USSR, 1940; 
responsible for drawing up documentation on Polish POWs and dis- 
patch lists for transferring them from the three special camps and pris- 
ons to regional UNKVDs (for execution); subsequently in charge of 
keeping records of the operation; head, Department "A," NKGB [Peo- 
ple's Commissariat of State Security] USSR, 1943. Arrested, 1953; con- 
victed in connection with Beria's case, 1954. 

Glemp, Jozef (b. 1929). Polish churchman. Studied in Gniezno, Poznah, 
and Rome, 1950-1964; took holy orders, 1956. Bishop, 1979; primate 
of Poland, 198 1; cardinal, 1983. 

Goberman, Maks Yefimovich. Soviet security official. GB 2nd lieutenant, 
1939; senior inspector, UPV Document Registration Office, late Sep- 
tember 1939; later, deputy head, 2nd Department, UPV. Received 
copies of documents on POWs; participated in "clearing out" the three 
special camps. 

Goetel, Ferdynand (1890-1960). Polish journalist, writer. Visited Katyn, 
early April 1943, and reported to the Polish Red Cross (PRC) executive 
on his return. Accused of collaboration with the Germans, he fled 
Poland and joined the Polish Army 2nd Corps, Italy, where he inter- 
viewed Krivozertsev; see his book Lata Wojny [War Years] (London, 
1956). He lived in Britain, 1946-1960. 

Gomuika, Wiadystaw (1905-1983). Polish communist leader; born in 
former Austrian Poland. District activist of the KPP [Communist Party 
of Poland], 1926-1938, he served two prison terms. Head of commu- 
nist PPR [Polish Workers' Party], 1943 -1948; charged with nationalist 
deviation and under house arrest, 1948-1955. As head of the commu- 
nist PZPR [United Polish Workers' Party], October 1956-December 
1970, he presided over a relaxation of the communist system in Poland, 
but crushed the shipyard workers' revolt in the coastal cities by military 
force in December 1970, after which he resigned. Author of memoirs; 
subject of biographies. 

Gorbachev, Mikhail Sergeevich (b. 193 1). Soviet party official, statesman. 
Graduated with law degree, Moscow, 1955. Career in Komsomol [com- 
munist youth organization], Stavropol, then party 1st secretary there, 

Biographical Sketches 


and CC member, Moscow, 1978, as secretary of agriculture. Secretary 
general, CPSU, March 1985-December 1991, and last president of the 
USSR. Best known for his contribution to ending the Cold War and his 
policies of perestroika (economic restructuring) and glasnost (open dis- 
cussion), especially of Stalinist crimes, including the Katyn massacre. 
Approved TASS communique, 13 April 1990, admitting Soviet guilt for 
Katyn massacre, and handed NKVD dispatch lists for the three special 
camps to Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski. Author of memoirs and 
subject of several biographies. 

Gorczyriski, Eustachy (b. 1893). Polish colonel; commander, Sapper Re- 
serve Center no. 1, September 1939. Survivor, Starobelsk, Yukhnov, 
and Griazovets camps. Joined Berling group, then Polish Army under 
Anders in the USSR; rejoined Berling group in 1942. 

Gorlinsky, Nikolai Dmitrievich (1907-1965). Soviet security official. GB 
captain, deputy commissar, NKVD, Ukrainian SSR, 1938-1940; par- 
ticipated in "clearing out" the prisons in western Ukraine, 1940. Was 
discharged and stripped of his rank of lieutenant general in 1954. 

Grabicki [Russian misspelling: Grobicki], Jerzy (b. 1891). Polish cavalry; 
colonel, reserves. Survivor, Kozelsk, Yukhnov, and Griazovets camps. 
Joined Berling group. 

Grzybowski, Waclaw (1887-1959). Polish diplomat. Ambassador, Prague, 
1927-193 5; Moscow, 193 6-1939; in Western Europe, 1939-1959. 

Gusev, Konstantin Mikhailovich (1906-1941). Soviet Air Force lieu- 
tenant general. Member, Military Council, Belorussian Front, 1939; air 
force commander, Far Eastern Front, July 1940. Arrested and shot, 
1941; rehabilitated (i.e., declared innocent or cleared of all charges), 

Ivanov, Aleksei Mikhailovich (b. 19 16). Soviet security officer. NKVD 
2nd lieutenant; company commander in Detached 136th NKVD Con- 
voy Battalion, 193 8 -1940. In charge of convoying Polish officers from 
Kozelsk camp to Smolensk and Gnezdovo, April-May 1940. 

Januszajtis-Zegota, Marian Jozef (1889-1973). Polish general. Born in 
former Russian Poland. Veteran, Riflemen's Association, Polish Le- 
gions; co-organizer of a failed anti-Pilsudski coup, January 19 19. 
Wounded in Polish-Soviet War, 1920. Promoted to brigadier general, 
1922, and general, 1924. Governor of Nowogrodek [Belarus: No- 
vahrudak] Province, 1926-1929; retired from army, 1929, but served 
on General Langner's staff during the defense of Lwow against the Ger- 
mans, September 1939. Organized one of the first Polish anti-Soviet re- 
sistance groups in Lwow, 1939, and was arrested there. Having indi- 
cated a readiness to fight on the Soviet side against Germany, he was 


Biographical Sketches 

interviewed by Beria and Merkulov in Moscow, October 1940, on 
forming a Polish division in the Red Army. He was released and trans- 
ferred to the Polish Military Administration, Britain, August 194 1. 
Died in Crowley, Britain. 

Jaruzelski, Wojciech (b. 192.3). Polish general and statesman. Born in 
Kurow, Poland. Deported and in the USSR, 1940-1943; joined 1st Pol- 
ish Army under Berling, 1943, and fought until war ended in Germany. 
Chief, general staff of Polish Army, 1965-1968; Polish deputy minister 
of defense, then minister, 1968-1983. Crushed Solidarity movement by 
imposing martial law, 13 December 198 1. Chairman, Council of Min- 
isters, 1981-1983; 1st secretary, PZPR, 1981-1989; commander, Pol- 
ish armed forces, 19 83 -1990; pressed Gorbachev for Soviet admission 
of truth about Katyn. President, Polish People's Republic, then Polish 
Republic, 1989-1990. Author of memoirs. 

Kachin, Timofei Fedotovich (b. 1902). Soviet security official. GB lieu- 
tenant and assistant to head of UNKVD, Kalinin Oblast, Dmitri 
Tokarev. Received POWs from Ostashkov camp; rewarded by Beria, 26 
October 1940. 

Kaczyriski, Lech (b. 1949). Polish lawyer, politician, minister, president of 
Poland. Elected senator in June 1989; deputy leader of Solidarity in 
1990. Justice minister under Premier J. Buzek; leader of Prawo i Spraw- 
iedliwosc [PIS — Law and Justice] party. President of the City of War- 
saw, 2002-2005. Elected president of Poland, 23 October 2005. He 
stated in July 2006 that he would leave disputes over Katyn to histori- 
ans, at least for the time being. His twin brother, Jaroslaw, head of PIS, 
became premier in July 2006. 

Kaganovich, Lazar Moiseevich (1893-1991). Soviet official. A close col- 
laborator of Stalin's. Responsible for railways in World War II, includ- 
ing transport for Polish POWs in 1939-1940. As a member of the Polit- 
buro, he voted to shoot the Polish POWS, 5 March 1940. Member of 
collective party leadership, 1953-1957; joined failed coup against 
Khrushchev and retired in 1957. 

Kalinin, Mikhail Ivanovich (1875 -1946). Soviet statesman and party 
functionary. As chairman of Supreme Soviet, he was the nominal presi- 
dent of the USSR in 193 8-1946. As a Politburo member, he voted to 
shoot the Polish POWs, 5 March 1940. 

Karamanov, Uzakbey (b. 1937). Soviet official. Deputy minister of con- 
struction, Kazakh SSR, 1986; deputy director, Gosbank, Kazakh SSR, 
1987-1989; chair, Sovmin [Council of Ministers], Kazakh SSR, July 
1989-October 1991. 

Biographical Sketches 


Katushev, Konstantin Fedorovich (b. 1927). Soviet official. CC secretary, 
1968-1977; Soviet ambassador to Cuba, 1982. Chairman, State Com- 
mittee for Foreign Economic Affairs, 1985-1988; minister of internal 
economic affairs, 1988. 

Kebich, Vyacheslav (b. 1936). Soviet, then Belarussian economist. Deputy 
chair, Sovmin, Belarussian SSR, 1985-1990; chairman, April 1990; 
chairman, Sovmin, Republic of Belarus, September 1990. 

Khlomov, Mikhail D. (1905-1945). Soviet official. Signed documents as 
head of Chancellery, Sovnarkom, USSR, 1939-1940. 

Khodas, Nikolai Vasilievich. Soviet official. Commissar, Ostashkov camp, 
April 1940; commander, Griazovets camp, May- August 194 1. 

Khokhlov, Ivan Ivanovich. Soviet security officer; worked in security or- 
gans, 1918-1953. GB lieutenant and deputy head, operational work, 
UPV, 1939-1940. Directed the "clearing out" of the three special 
camps. Substituted in Moscow for absent Pyotr Soprunenko, 14-28 
April 1940; signed POW dispatch lists sent to the three special camps. 

Kholichev, Dmitry Karlovich (1908-1951). Soviet security official. In 
1939, a GB lieutenant and senior commissioner, GEU [Main Economic 
Administration], NKVD. Traveled to Ostashkov camp as a member of 
the investigation brigade led by Soprunenko and participated in "clear- 
ing out" the camp. 

Khristenko, Viktor Borisevich (b. 1957). Russian statesman. Deputy fi- 
nance minister, 1997-1998; secretary of state, 1st deputy minister of 
finance, April-September 1998; 1st deputy prime minister, May 1999- 
February 2004; made a speech at the opening of the Polish War Ceme- 
tery at Katyn, 28 July 2000. Appointed acting prime minister by Rus- 
sian President Vladimir Putin, February 2004. 

Khrulev, Andrei Vasilevich (1 892-1962). Soviet brigadier general; deputy 
commissar of defense, USSR; and chief, Red Army Rear [Quartermas- 
ter] Services, August 1940. In charge of supplying the Polish Army un- 
der Anders in the USSR, 1941-1942. 

Khrushchev, Nikita Sergeevich (1894-1971). Soviet party leader and 
statesman. Rose in party ranks under Stalin. 1st secretary, UkSSR 
1938-1941; political officer and lieutenant general in Red Army, 
1941-1944; head of party and chairman of the Council of Ministers, 
UkSSR, 1944-1949. Organized arrest of Beria, 1952, and overthrew 
Malenkov, 1955. Leader of CPSU and USSR, 1955-1964. Famous for 
condemning (some) Stalinist crimes and the cult of personality at the 
Twentieth Party Congress, February 19 56. He accepted Gomutka as the 
new Polish party leader but crushed the Hungarian revolution by force 
in fall 1956; he sanctioned the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961; and 


Biographical Sketches 

he placed nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962. Overthrown by Leonid 
Brezhnev's group in October 1964, he retired. Author of memoirs and 
subject of biographies. 

Khudiakova, T. N. Soviet security official. Worked in NKVD Personnel 
Department. Assistant inspector, UPV, 1939. In charge of Kozelsk camp 
archives, 1939-1940. 

Kirilenko, Andrei Pavlovich (1906-1990). Soviet official. As CC and 
Politburo member, 1957-1982, he supported first Khrushchev, then 
Brezhnev. As a member of the CC Secretariat, he oversaw the party or- 
ganization and Soviet industry, 1964-1982. 

Kirov, Sergei M. (1886-19 34). Soviet party leader. Head, Leningrad Party 
Organization, 1926-1934. Widely considered Stalin's heir apparent, he 
was assassinated in his office building in Leningrad, either on Stalin's 
orders or with his assent, in December 1934. Stalin used his death as a 
pretext to purge the CPSU of old Bolsheviks, the most prominent of 
whom appeared in staged public trials. Polish POWs were shown a pro- 
paganda film of Kirov's life. 

Kirshin, Mikhail Mikhailovich (b. 1902). Soviet security officer. NKVD 
battalion commissar, 1939; major, 1943. Commissar, Starobelsk camp, 
1939 -1940; participated in "clearing out" the camp. 

Kiselev, N. A. Soviet security official, investigator. As a GB 2nd lieutenant, 
he was a member of the Belolipetsky Brigade sent to Ostashkov camp in 
December 1939; there he participated in preparing POW dossiers for 
the OSO. Rewarded by Beria, 26 October 1940. 

Kobulov, Bakhcho [Bogdan] Zakharovich (1904-1953). Soviet security 
official. One of Beria's closest Georgian comrades. Deputy commissar, 
NKVD; GB commissar 3rd rank; and head, GEU, NKVD, and its inves- 
tigative unit, 193 8-1941. Member ofTroika appointed by Politburo, 5 
March 1940, to draw up sentences, examine the cases, and decide the 
sentences of Polish officers and police from the three special camps. 
Colonel general and deputy commissar, GB USSR, 1941-1945. Exe- 
cuted together with Beria, December 1953. 

Kondakov, Pyotr Pavlovich (1902-1970). Soviet security official. GB ma- 
jor; head, UNKVD, Vologda Oblast, September 1939-February 1941. 
He held several high administrative NKVD and ministerial posts in 

Korboriski, Stefan (1901-1989). Polish politician, resistance leader. 
Served in Polish military organizations and army, 1917-1921, and was 
a regional Peasant Party leader, 193 0-1939. Under the German occu- 
pation of Poland, he was the co-founder of the underground Political 
Council, 1939; head of Civilian Resistance, 1941-1945; and last dele- 

Biographical Sketches 


gate of the Polish government in Warsaw. He escaped from Poland in 
1947 and settled in the United States. Author of books on the Polish re- 
sistance. Received Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan. 

Korolev, Vasily Nikolaevich (b. 1902). Soviet security official. GB 1st lieu- 
tenant, March 1940; head, Kozelsk camp, 1939-1941; deputy head of 
several GULAG camps, 1941-1944. 

Korytov, Grigory Vasilevich (b. 1900). Soviet security official. As GB 1st 
lieutenant, he was head of OO, Ostashkov camp; he ratified POW cases 
for handing over to OSO and signed off on cases sent to the OSO in 
Moscow, early 1940. Reported on Moscow conference of February 
1940 regarding sentencing of Ostashkov prisoners and participated in 
"clearing out" the camps. 

Kosygin, Mikhail Grigorievich (b. 1901). Soviet security official. Senior 
inspector, 1st Department, UPV, late September 1939. Made several 
trips to POW camps. 

Kot, Stanislaw (1885-1975). Polish historian, Peasant Party politician, 
government official. Opposed Pilsudski and successor governments, 
1926-1939. Close aide and adviser to General Wladyslaw Sikorski, 
1939-1943; Polish ambassador, USSR, 1941-1942; minister in Near 
East and minister of information, London, 1943 -1944. Returned to 
Poland, 1945; Polish ambassador in Rome, 1945-1947, then emigre in 
England. Author of historical studies and editor of documents on his 
embassy in the USSR. Died in London. 

Kovalev, Mikhail Prokofevich (1897-1967). Soviet military officer. Army 
commander 2nd rank, 1939; colonel general, 1943. Commanded forces 
of Kiev Military District, December 1937-1939; of Belorussian Mili- 
tary District, April-September 1939; of Belorussian Front, September 
1939. Commander of 15th Army in Soviet-Finnish War, 1939-1940, 
and of Kharkov Military District, May 1940. 

Kriuchkov, Vladimir Aleksandrovich (b. 1924). Soviet security official, 
lawyer, diplomat. Succeeded Chebrikov as KGB chairman, 1988. Polit- 
buro member, September 1989-July 1990, and member of Gorbachev's 
Presidential Council, March 1990. Opposed giving access to state 
archives to Russian historians and participated in failed coup against 
Gorbachev, August 199 1. 

Krivenko, Mikhail Spiridonovich (1904-1954). NKVD officer. Brigade 
commander, chief of staff, USSR NKVD Convoy Troops, 1938-1941. 
Responsible for convoys and guarding POWS transported by rail from 
Ostashkov camp to Kalinin/ Tver, April-May 1940; rewarded by Beria, 
26 October 1940. 

Krivozertsev, Ivan (pseudonym: Mikhail Loboda; 1915-1947). An in- 


Biographical Sketches 

habitant of Gnezdovo who testified before the German and Interna- 
tional Medical Commissions in 1943 as a witness to Soviet responsibil- 
ity for the Katyn massacre. Lengthy interviews were conducted with 
him in Italy by Polish writers Ferdynand Goetel and Jozef Mackiewicz. 
He accompanied the Polish Army znd Corps to Britain after the war 
and lived in a Polish camp there. His death in 1947 was ruled a suicide, 
but he was likely murdered by an NKVD agent. His testimony was 
posthumously entered in the U.S. Congressional (Madden Committee) 
Hearings on Katyn, 1951-1952. 

Kruglov, Sergei Nikiforovich (1907-1977). NKVD official. A deputy 
commissar, NKVD, USSR, 1939; oversaw cadres, including the UPV 
and the POW camps. Co-author with Merkulov of a report on the 
Katyn massacre for the Burdenko Commission, before it began its work 
at Katyn in January 1944. Dismissed from post as minister of internal 
affairs with rank of colonel general, 1956. 

Kuczyriski-Iskander Bej, Stanislaw (b. 1907). A Polish cavalry captain of 
Tatar descent taken prisoner by the Red Army in late September 1939; 
his records were faked by the NKVD. The Burdenko Commission 
claimed to have found at Katyn a signed but unsent postcard to his wife, 
dated Kozelsk, 20 June 1941. Russian records show, however, that he 
was held at Starobelsk and was taken out of the camp in December 
1939. He was allegedly taken to Moscow, but was most likely trans- 
ferred to the NKVD jail in Kharkov. He is listed in the Polish War Ceme- 
tery book for Kharkov as shot there. 

Kukiel, Marian (18 85-1973). Polish general, politician, historian; born in 
former Austrian Poland. Veteran, Polish Legions and Polish-Soviet War, 
1919-1920. Opposed Pilsudski, 1926-193 5. Professor at Jagiellonian 
University and curator at Czartoryski Museum, Krakow, 1926-1939. 
Joined the Sikorski government in France, then England. As Polish min- 
ister of defense, he issued a communique on 16 April 1943 detailing 
Polish inquiries of Soviet authorities on the fate of the POWs in 194 1- 
1942. Director of the General Sikorski Historical Institute (now the Pol- 
ish Institute and Sikorski Museum), London, 1946-1972. Author of 
several works on Polish military history and a biography of General 
Wladyslaw Sikorski. 

Kulik, Grigory Ivanovich (1890-19 50). Deputy commissar of defense, 
USSR, and chief, Main Artillery Directorate, 1939-1940. Wrote a re- 
port in late September 1939 on Red Army actions and the situation in 
Western Ukraine. Marshal and hero of the Soviet Union, 1940. He mis- 
managed the re-equipment of the Red Army; was demoted and was 
then dismissed for incompetence by Marshal Zhukov after the Battle of 

Biographical Sketches 


Kursk (July 1943); worked in the reserves. Retired and presumably im- 
prisoned in 1946, he was shot in 1950, but was rehabilitated with his 
rank of marshal restored in 1957. 
Kupry, Timofei Fedorovich. Soviet security official. GB 2nd lieutenant, 
1940; promoted to lieutenant, March 1940. Commandant, AKhU, UN- 
KVD, Kharkov Oblast, 1940-1941. According to the deposition by a 
witness (Syromiatnikov), he personally executed Polish officers from 
Starobelsk camp in Kharkov prison. He was rewarded by Beria, 26 Oc- 
tober 1940. 

Kuznetsov, A. S. (b. 1899). Soviet security official. GB lieutenant colonel, 
i943;colonel 1953. Head, 1st Department, NKVDUSSR, 1943-1953. 
Responsible until 1943 for storing files of Polish POWs shot in spring 

Kwas'niewski, Aleksander (b. 1954). Polish politician and statesman; born 
in Biatogard, northwestern Poland. Minister of youth and sports, 1981- 
1989. Cofounder of the Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej [SLD — Demo- 
cratic Left Alliance], 1989, which was viewed by many Poles as succes- 
sor to the PZPR. Member of Seym (lower house of Polish Parliament), 
1991. Led SLD to victory in 1993; narrowly defeated Lech Walesa in 
presidential election in 1995; reelected president in 2000; spoke at the 
opening of the Polish Military Cemetery in Kharkov, June 2000. During 
his tenure, Poland joined the European Union in 2003. He actively par- 
ticipated in negotiations leading to a peaceful resolution of the Ukrai- 
nian Orange Revolution crisis in November-December 2004. 

Kwolek, Stanislaw Jozef (1901-1940). Polish lieutenant, reserves; engi- 
neer. Veteran, Silesian uprisings, 1920-1921. Worked in Lwow re- 
gional administration. Fought in defense of city, September 1939. Or- 
ganized patriotic celebration in Starobelsk camp, 11 November 1939; 
was transferred to Kharkov jail and sentenced to forced labor. Died in a 
GULAG camp in Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic [ASSR]. 

Lachert, Wadaw (1872-1951). Polish industrial manager. President, Ex- 
ecutive Board, Polish Red Cross (PRC) under German occupation, 
1939-1945; sanctioned sending first PRC delegation, then the PRC 
Technical Commission, to Katyn, spring-summer 1943. 

Langner, Wladyslaw Aleksander (1 896-1972). Polish general; born in 
former Austrian Poland. Veteran, Polish Legions, 1914-1917; Austro- 
Hungarian Army, 19 17-19 18; fought in Polish-Soviet War. Comman- 
der, defense of Lwow against Germans; surrendered to Red Army, 22 
September 1939; pleaded in Moscow for release of his soldiers. Escaped 
to Romania, then France. In Polish Army in Britain, 1940-1945. Died 
in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. 


Biographical Sketches 

Lebedev, L. P. (b. 1903). Soviet security official. Section head, nth De- 
partment, GUGB, UNKVD, Moscow Oblast, 1939; GB lieutenant, 
head of Zaporozhye mining camp, 1940. In charge of transferring 
POWs from the mining camp to Sevzheldorlag, May 1940. 

Lewandowska, Janina Antonina (1908 -1940). Polish pilot; daughter of 
General Jozef Dowbor-Musnicki (1867-1937). Cadet ensign or 2nd 
lieutenant, air force reserves. Trained in Poznah as a radio telegrapher, 
pilot, and parachutist. The only known female military prisoner in any 
of the three special camps. Held in Ostashkov camp, then Kozelsk. Ex- 
humed at Katyn, 1943. 

Lis, Jozef (b. 1897). Polish major, artillery. Survivor, Starobelsk, Yukhnov, 
and Griazovets camps. Briefly in Berling group, then Polish Army under 
Anders in the USSR and the Middle East; later, in Polish Army znd 
Corps in Italy. 

Lopianowski, Narcyz (1898-1984). Polish captain, cavalry. Served in 
Podlasie Cavalry Brigade, September 1939. Survivor, Griazovets camp. 
Briefly in Berling group (as a spy), then Polish Army under Anders, 
later in Britain. Parachuted into Poland, 1944; fought in Warsaw Up- 
rising. After World War II, lived in western Europe. Author of mem- 

Mackiewicz, Jozef (1902-198 5). Polish journalist, writer, Katyn expert. A 
passionate anticommunist, he contributed to the Wilno Polish-language 
newspaper Goniec Codzienny [Daily Courier], published under Ger- 
man control after July 1941. He visited Katyn in May 1943, where he 
first met Krivozertsev, and published a report in the paper — both with 
the assent of the local Polish underground authorities. Accused by com- 
munists of collaboration with the Germans, he fled Poland and joined 
the Polish Army 2nd Corps in Italy, where he conducted a long inter- 
view with Krivozertsev. He accepted the commission offered by jour- 
nalist Zdzisfaw Stahl of the Office of Studies of the Polish Army 2nd 
Corps to write a book on the Katyn massacre titled Zbrodnia Katynska 
[The Crime of Katyn]; it was first published in London in 1948. His au- 
thorship was never acknowledged, mainly because of the widely known 
charge that he collaborated with the Germans, so the book is generally 
attributed to Zdzislaw Stahl. The fifth edition was translated into En- 
glish as The Crime of Katyn (London, 1965). Mackiewicz wrote an- 
other book on Katyn, which was published in eight languages, the first 
in German translation as Katyn: Ungesiibntes Verbrechen [Katyn: An 
Unexpiated Crime] (Zurich, 1949; reprinted in Frankfurt am Main, 
1983). The slightly enlarged English version is titled The Katyn Wood 
Murders (London, 1951). After living a few years in Britain, he settled 

Biographical Sketches 

in the German Federal Republic in 1954. The Polish-language original 
of his German book on Katyn, as well as his published articles on the 
subject, were published in Poland in 1997. 

Maisky [real name: Liakhovetsky], Ivan Mikhailovich (1884-1975). So- 
viet diplomat and minister. As Soviet ambassador to Britain, 1932- 
1943, he signed the Soviet-Polish Agreement, London, 30 July 1941. 
Deputy commissar, minister of foreign affairs, 1943 -1946. Author of 
censored memoirs on his embassy to Britain. 

Makliarsky, Ivan Borisovich. Soviet security official. GB 1st lieutenant, 
1939; head, UPV Registration Department, September 1939. Partici- 
pated in preparing and implementing the "clearing out" of the three 
special camps. 

Malenkov, Georgy Maksimilianovich (1902-1988). Soviet official, party 
and state leader. CC CPSU member, 1939; full Politburo member, 1946. 
After Stalin's death, chairman, Sovmin, and a secretary of the CC CPSU. 
Overthrown by Khrushchev, February 1955; joined failed coup against 
him, 1957; was exiled to Kazakhstan, where he managed a power sta- 
tion, but later returned and lived for many years as a pensioner in 

Marchuk, Gury Ivanovich (b. 192.5). Soviet academician. Mathematician 
and expert on nuclear reactors. CC member, 1981-1991; supporter of 
Gorbachev. Elected president, Soviet Academy of Sciences, 1986-1991. 

Maslennikov, Ivan Ivanovich (1900-1954). Soviet security official. Army 
general and hero of the USSR, 1945. As a deputy commissar NKVD 
USSR in 1939, he oversaw border, convoy, and interior troops. Com- 
mander, armies and fronts in World War II. Candidate member of CC 
CPSU, 1939-1954. 

Medvedev, Vadim Andreevich (b. 1929). Soviet academic and party offi- 
cial. Head of CPSU Academy of Social Sciences, 1978-1983. Elected a 
member of the CC CPSU at the Twenty-seventh Party Congress; a sec- 
retary of the CC, March 1986; and member of Politburo, 1989, the year 
he was also elected to Parliament. Not reelected to Politburo, he became 
a member of the Presidential Council, 1990. 

Mekhlis, Lev Zakharovich (1889-1953). Soviet party official. A political 
commissar during the Russian Civil War, he later worked in Stalin's Sec- 
retariat and edited Pravda, 1930-1937. Deputy commissar of defense, 
153 7-194 5; State Control commissar; and chief of Red Army Main Po- 
litical Administration, 1940-1941. A member of military councils in 
World War II, he was minister of State Control, 1945-1949. 

Merkulov, Vsevolod Nikolaevich (1895-1953). Soviet security official. 
Closest aide and friend of Beria's from 1922; responsible for mass re- 

Biographical Sketches 

pressions and inhumane methods of interrogation. Member of Troika 
appointed by Politburo, 5 March 1940, to examine the cases and decide 
sentences of Polish officers and police from the three special camps and 
of prisoners in western oblasts of UkSSR and BSSR. In charge of the en- 
tire operation of "clearing out" the camps and prisons in April-May 
1940. Arrested with Beria in summer 1953 and executed in December 
1953. Named together with Beria in the TASS communique of 13 April 
1990 as responsible for murdering the Polish POWs in 1940. 

Mikolajczyk, Stanislaw (1885-1966). Statesman and Peasant Party leader. 
Deputy premier of exile government, 1941-1943; premier, 1943-1944. 
Tried but failed to reach agreement with Stalin on the Polish-Soviet bor- 
der. Accepted Yalta agreements on Poland, spring 1945; second deputy 
premier and agriculture minister in the new Polish government formed 
in Moscow, June. Lost rigged elections, 1947; escaped from Poland 
when his life was threatened; politically active in the United States, 
1947-1966; author of memoirs. 

Mikoyan, Anastas Ivanovich (1893-1978). Soviet official, commissar, 
minister. Close associate of Stalin, then Khrushchev and Brezhnev. Ne- 
gotiated German-Soviet trade agreements of 1936 and 1939. As Polit- 
buro member, signed resolution to shoot Polish POWs, 5 March 1940. 
Deputy chairman, then premier, Council of People's Commissars/Min- 
isters, 1937-195 5, and first deputy chairman, 195 5-1964. Retired, 1968. 

Milshtein, Solomon Rafalovich (1899-1955). Soviet party official. Friend 
and close collaborator of Beria's. As GB commissar 3rd rank and head 
of GTU [Main Transport Administration], NKVD, 1940, he took an ac- 
tive part in executions of Polish POWs by providing and reporting on 
trains used to transport them to places of execution. In 1954, he was 
tried and sentenced in connection with Beria's case; was presumably 
shot in 1955. 

Minkiewicz-Odrowaz, Henryk (1880-1940). Polish general. Born in for- 
mer Russian Poland, he studied medicine and the fine arts in Krakow. 
Veteran, Polish Legions and Polish-Soviet War; organizer and comman- 
der, Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza [KOP — Frontier Protection Corps], 
1924-1929; retired 1934. Arrested at his home and held at Kozelsk 
camp; shot at Katyn. 

Mironov, Vasily Dmitrievich. Soviet security official. Worked in 5th De- 
partment, GUGB. Participated in executions of Polish officers, April- 
May 1940. Worked with Zarubin in Soviet intelligence in the United 
States, 1941-1944. Recalled to the USSR in 1944, arrested, and placed 
in a camp. He is reported to have told some fellow prisoners what he 
knew about Katyn. Shot, 28 July 1945. 

Biographical Sketches 


Moscicki, Ignacy (1867-1946). Polish chemist; president of Poland. In- 
ventor of a nitrogen acid production process, he worked in Switzerland, 
then at the Polytechnic in Lwow. He was a member of the P.O.W. in 
World War I and a loyal supporter of Jozef Pilsudsk who selected him to 
be president of Poland in 1926; he was president until 1939. Interned in 
Romania, September 1939; he was allowed to leave for Switzerland (he 
held dual Polish and Swiss citizenship), where he died. Author of auto- 

Mostovoi, Pavel (b. 193 1). Soviet official; supporter of Gorbachev. Direc- 
tor, State Committee for Material-Technical Supplies, 1978 -19 89; 
deputy chair, Sovmin, July 1989-December 1990. 

Murashov, Nikolai Matveevich (1907-1942). Soviet security officer. GB 
1st lieutenant and chief of staff, 236th NKVD Convoy Battalion, 1940. 
Commanded convoys guarding Polish POWs from Ostashkov to 
Kalinin/Tver. Disappeared without a trace, May 1942. 

Nekhoroshev, Semyon Vasilevich (b. 1899). Soviet security official. Regi- 
mental commissar; head, Political Department; and commissar, UPV, 
1939-1941. Led an operational brigade to Starobelsk camp, January 
1940; participated in "clearing out" the three special camps. Retired in 
1952 with the rank of colonel from the MVD Contacts with Abroad 
Department, Moscow Military District. 

Paderewski, Ignacy Jan (1860-1941). Famous Polish pianist and states- 
man. He made several concert tours of the United States beginning in 
1 891; worked for Polish independence there during World War I and is 
credited with influencing President Woodrow Wilson to support an in- 
dependent Poland. Premier and foreign minister of Poland, January- 
December 19 19, he was also the chief Polish delegate at the Paris Peace 
Conference, 1919, and co-signer with Roman Dmowski of the Ver- 
sailles Treaty for Poland. He opposed Pilsudski's governments, 1926- 
1935, and those of his successors; supported the new Polish government 
headed by General Wladyslaw Sikorski, established in France on 30 
September 1939. He died in New York, 29 June 1941, while on a visit 
to the United States. Buried at Arlington National Cemetery, his re- 
mains were returned to Poland at President Lech Walesa's request and 
reinterred in a crypt of St. John's Cathedral, Warsaw, in July 1992. 

Panfilov, Aleksei P. (b. 1898). Soviet major general, tank forces; head of 
GRU [Main Military Intelligence Administration of the RKKA/Red 
Army; short name: Razvedka]. Member of Red Army General Staff, 
and of the Gosudarstvenny Komitet Oborony [GKO — State Defense 
Committee], 194 1. In charge of matters concerning the Polish Army 
under Anders in the USSR, 1941-1942. 

402 Biographical Sketches 

Pavlov, Valentin Sergeevich (b. 1937). Soviet official. Supporter of Gorba- 
chev. 1 st deputy finance minister, January- August 1986; chair, State 
Committee on Prices, 19 86-19 89. In July 1988, as chair of the State For- 
eign Tourism Committee, proposed visits to Katyn by victims' families. 

Pavlov, Vasily Pavlovich (b. 1910). In 1939-1940 he was a GB captain, 
head of the Special Department of the Kalinin Military District and of 
the UNKVD in the Kalinin region. He actively participated in liquidat- 
ing the Ostashkov POW camp. 

Petrazycki, Tadeusz (1885 -1940). Polish officer, lawyer. Colonel, retired. 
Born in Ukraine; law graduate of Kharkov University; veteran, Polish 
Army, 1918-19Z1. Judicial assessor and judge, Polish Supreme Mili- 
tary Court, 1931-1935; senator, 1935-1939; member, Polish Red 
Cross Executive Board. While a prisoner in Starobelsk camp, he peti- 
tioned Soviet authorities for POW rights; listed in Polish records as shot 
in Kharkov. 

Pikhoia, Rudolf Germanovich. Archivist, historian. Director general, 
ROSARKHIV [Russian Archives], 1992-1995. Deputy chair, begin- 
ning in 1995, of the editorial board of the series Rossiia: XX vek [Rus- 
sia: The 20th Century], which includes Katyn: Plenniki Neobiavlennoi 
Voiny [Katyn: Prisoners of an Undeclared War] (1997). On behalf of 
President Boris Yeltsin, conveyed Russian Katyn documents to Polish 
President Lech Walesa, October 1992. 

Pilsudski, Jozef (1867-1935). Polish Socialist leader and revolutionary, 
writer, military leader, statesman. Born in former Russian Vilna Prov- 
ince (Polish, Wilno, now Vilnius, capital of Lithuania). A Polish Social- 
ist Party (PPS) leader, 1892-1914; commander of Polish Legions fight- 
ing alongside the Central Powers against Russia, 1914-1917; refused 
further cooperation in July 1917 and was imprisoned in Germany, 
1917-1918. Head of Polish state, November 1918-December 1922. 
As commander in chief, led Polish and Ukrainian troops to Kiev, May 
1920; was pushed back to gates of Warsaw by the Red Army, but de- 
feated it in mid-August 1920. Resigned from all posts in 1923; seized 
power, May 1926. Presided over authoritarian governments, directed 
military affairs, and guided foreign policy until his death in May 1935. 

Podtserob, Boris Fedorovich (1910-1983). Worked in the People's Com- 
missariat of Foreign Affairs, 1937-1949; secretary general of ministry, 
1952-1953, later deputy minister and ambassador to Turkey and Aus- 
tria. As Molotov's personal secretary, he recorded the Stalin-Sikorski 
conversation of 3 December 1941. 

Polukhin, Iosif Mikhailovich. Soviet security official. Major and deputy 
head of UPV, 1939-1941, responsible for finances, housekeeping, and 

Biographical Sketches 


security in the three special camps. Headed investigation brigade in 
Kozelsk camp, January 1940. 

Pomaznev, Mikhail Trofimovich (1911-1987). Soviet official. Secretary, 
Ekonomsoviet [Economic Council], attached to Sovnarkom, 1939. 

Ponomarenko, Panteleimon Kondratevich (190Z-1984). Soviet party offi- 
cial and lieutenant general, 1943. Served in Red Army, 191 8; held vari- 
ous army and party posts to 1938. 1st secretary, CC Belorussian Bolshe- 
vik Party, 1938-1941. In September 1939, as member of the Military 
Council, Belorussian Front, signed the order justifying invasion of east- 
ern Poland. Head, general staff of partisan movement in World War II. 
Chair, Belorussian Council of Ministers, 1944-1948; and secretary CC 
Belorussian Communist Party, 194 8 -19 5 z. After fall of his patron, 
Malenkov, he was given several diplomatic assignments, 1956-1964. 

Ponomarev, Boris Nikolaevich (1905 -1990). Soviet party official. Worked 
in the Comintern [Communist International] central office and was 
deputy director of the Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute. Deputy director, 
CC CPSU Foreign Policy Department, 1947; member, CC International 
Relations Department, 1955-1985; member, CC, 1986-1989. 

Potemkin, Vladimir Petrovich (1874 -1946). Soviet economist and diplo- 
mat. As deputy commissar for foreign affairs, 1937-1940, presented 
Soviet note to Polish ambassador, Moscow, 17 September 1939. Mem- 
ber of Burdenko Commission; commissar of education, 1940-1946. 

Przezdziecki, Waclaw (1883-1964). Polish brigadier general. Born in for- 
mer Russian Poland; veteran, Russian Army, World War I, then 1st Pol- 
ish Corps, Russia; fought in Polish-Soviet War, 1919-1920. Army 
group commander, September 1939; interned in Lithuania, 1939- 
1940, then USSR. Interviewed by Beria and Merkulov, October 1940, 
about organizing a Polish division in the Red Army. Joined the Polish 
Army under Anders in the USSR; later, in the Polish Army znd Corps, 
Middle East and Italy, 1942-1945. Settled in England after World War II. 
Died in Penley, Wales. 

Putin, Vladimir Vladimirovich (b. 1952). President of Russia. Born in 
Leningrad, he graduated with a law degree there, 1975. As a KGB intel- 
ligence officer, he spent several years in East Germany; resigned, 199 1. 
Served in St. Petersburg administration, then brought into the Kremlin 
by President Boris Yeltsin, who appointed him head of intelligence ser- 
vices in 1998, premier in 1999, and acting president, December 1999. 
Elected president in 2000; reelected in 2004. Presided over the closing 
of the formal Russian investigation of Katyn, 2004-2005. 

Raczkiewicz, Wiadyslaw (1885-1947). Polish minister, provincial gover- 
nor, and interwar Senate speaker. President of Polish government in ex- 

Biographical Sketches 

ile, October 1939-July 1945, he never recognized the inclusion of for- 
mer eastern Poland in the USSR. 

Raczyriski, Edward (1891-1993). Polish diplomat, minister. Polish repre- 
sentative, League of Nations, 193Z-1934; ambassador to Britain, 
1934-1945; acting foreign minister, 1940-1943. Prominent emigre 
politician in London, 1954-1972; president of Polish government-in- 
exile, London, 1979-1986. Author of memoirs. 

Raikhman, Leonid Fedorovich (d. 199 1). Soviet security officer. GB major 
and deputy head, 2nd Department (Counterintelligence), GUGB, 
NKVD USSR, 1939-1941. Carried out a "cleanup" (arrests, execu- 
tions) in western oblasts, UkSSR, fall 1939 -spring 1940. Supervised 
special NKVD detail preparing evidence at Katyn for Burdenko Com- 
mission, fall 1943 -early 1944. Prepared some materials for the Inter- 
national Military Tribunal on the "Katyn Affair," Nuremberg, 1946. 
Arrested and imprisoned in 19 5 1 as alleged member of a "Zionist" con- 
spiracy, he was released in 1956. 

Rodionov, [first name unknown]. Soviet security officer. GB 1st lieutenant 
and section head, 2nd Department, GEU, NKVD, USSR, 1939. To- 
gether with Nekhoroshev, supervised POW investigations at Starobelsk 
camp in early 1940. 

Romer, Tadeusz (1894-1978). Polish diplomat, minister. Secretary, Polish 
National Committee, Paris, 1917-1919; ambassador in Lisbon, 1933- 
1937; Tokyo, 1937-1941; Moscow, 1942-1943. Foreign minister, Polish 
government, London, 1943 -1944. Settled in Montreal, Canada, in 1948. 

Rowecki, Stefan (1895-1944). Polish general. Born in former Russian 
Poland; veteran, Polish Legions and Polish-Soviet War; brigade com- 
mander, September 1939. Active in Polish military resistance in occu- 
pied Poland from fall 1939; he persuaded several different groups to 
unite in the AK under his leadership in 1942. Arrested by Gestapo, War- 
saw, 30 June 1943, and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He 
rejected German proposals to organize a Polish battalion to fight the 
USSR. He was shot after the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising (1 Au- 
gust 1944). 

Rozariski, Konrad (1892-1940) and Wojciech (1920-1940), father and 
son. Polish officers. Konrad was a lawyer and a 2nd lieutenant in the re- 
serves. Wojciech was a cadet. Both were mentioned as troublemakers in 
an NKVD report, 22 April 1940. Both were in Kozelsk camp, and both 
were shot at Katyn. 

Rushailo, Vladimir (b. 1953). Russian politician. Interior minister, 1999- 
2001; spoke at opening of Polish War Cemetery at Mednoe, 2 Septem- 

Biographical Sketches 


ber 2000. Executive secretary of Commonwealth of Independent States, 

Rybakov, Aleksei Aleksandrovich (b. 1901). Soviet security officer. Chief 
of staff, 15th Brigade, NKVD Convoy Troops, April 1939-March 
1940; colonel, head, Operations Department, GUKV [Main Adminis- 
tration of Convoy Troops], NKVD, March 1940-November 1941. Re- 
sponsible for guarding and transporting Polish POWs from Starobelsk 
to Kharkov, spring 1940. 

Ryzhkov, Nikolai Ivanovich (b. 1929). Soviet, then Russian economist; 
an architect of Gorbachev's perestroika. CC CPSU member, 1982; 
head, CC Economic Department, 1985; Politburo member, September 
1985; chair, Sovmin; member, Presidential Council, March-December 

Safonov, Grigori Nikolaevich (1904-1972). Lawyer, Soviet deputy prose- 
cutor general, 1946-1948; prosecutor general, 1948-1953. 

Safonov, Pyotr Sergeevich. Soviet security officer. GB captain. Deputy 
chief of GULAG, 1939. As head of UNKVD, Kharkov Oblast, he was in 
charge of executions in Kharkov prison of POWs from Starobelsk camp 
and prisoners transferred from prisons in western oblasts of UkSSR in 
April-May 1940. 

Sapieha, Adam Stefan (1 867-1951). Polish churchman, prince. Arch- 
bishop Metropolitan of Krakow, 1925-1951. Under German occupa- 
tion, sheltered endangered clergy, including Karol Wojtyla (elected pope 
in 1978); cardinal, 1946. 

Saski, Edward Jozef (1882-1940). Polish colonel, retired. Born in Riga; 
law graduate, Odessa University, 1911. Veteran, Russian Army, 1914- 
1917, then 1st Polish Corps, Russia; in Polish Army, 1919-1934. Judi- 
cial assessor; member, Military Judiciary Corps; and judge on Polish 
Supreme Military Tribunal, 1929. Service in 1939 unknown. Presented 
demands on behalf of fellow officer POWs in Starobelsk camp. Listed 
as shot in Kharkov. 

Serov, Ivan Aleksandrovich (1905 -1990). Soviet security commissar and 
general. GB commissar 3rd rank, NKVD, UkSSR, 1939; deputy com- 
missar NKVD, USSR, 194 1. Directed mass repressions and deporta- 
tions from western oblasts of UkSSR, 1939-1941. Directed "clearing 
out" of prisons there and presumably transfer of prisoners from NKVD 
jails in western Ukraine to those in central Ukraine, including Kharkov 
and Kherson, spring 1940. Organized the kidnapping of sixteen Polish 
underground leaders and their transportation to Moscow, March 1945, 
where they were tried in June 1945. Chair, KGB, with rank of army gen- 

Biographical Sketches 

eral, 1954-1958. Stripped of his title, "Hero of the Soviet Union," and 
demoted to major general, iz March 1963. 

Shelepin, Aleksandr Nikolaevich (19 18 -1994). Soviet official. As head of 
KGB, 1958-1961, proposed destruction of Polish POW files in 1959. 
Was deposed in Russian Katyn investigation, December 1992. 

Shevardnadze, Eduard Amvrosevich (b. 1928). Soviet official, minister, 
head of state. Member, Soviet CC, 1958-1961; candidate member, 
Politburo, 1978. Supported Gorbachev for secretary general of the 
Communist Party, 1985. As Soviet foreign minister, 1985-1990, con- 
tributed to ending the Cold War. President of Georgia, 10 March 1992- 
23 November 2003. 

Shkabardnia, Mikhail (b. 1930). Soviet official. Chief, Chancellery, Sov- 
min, USSR, 1980-1989. 

Shtemenko, Sergei Matveevich (1907-1976). Soviet general. Army major, 
1939; general, 1968. Signed Kulik report on situation in Western 
Ukraine, 21 September 1939. Chief of general staff and minister of 
armed forces, 1948; chief and deputy chief, armed forces, 1962-1968. 
Author of memoirs. 

Sikorski, Franciszek Jozef (1889-1940). Polish brigadier general, retired, 
1933; engineer. Born in former Austrian Poland; veteran, Polish Le- 
gions and Polish-Soviet War. In September 1939, with General Langner, 
led defense of Lwow against the Germans. Wrote to Marshal Semyon 
Timoshenko on behalf of fellow officer POWs. In Starobelsk camp; 
listed as shot in Kharkov. 

Sikorski, Wladyslaw Eugeniusz (1881-1943). Polish general, statesman. 
Born on the border of former Russian and former Austrian Poland. Com- 
mander, 5th Polish Army defending Warsaw, August 1920; chief, general 
staff, 1921-1922; premier, 1922-1923; war minister, 1924-1925;^ op- 
position, 1926-1939. Prime minister of new Polish government, 30 Sep- 
tember 1939-4 July 1943; commander in chief, Polish armed forces, 
November 1939-July 1943. Signed Polish-Soviet agreement with Ivan 
Maisky, London, 30 July 194 1, restoring relations between the two coun- 
tries, releasing Polish prisoners, and forming a Polish Army in the USSR; 
had long conversation with Stalin and Molotov, Moscow, 3 December 
1941. Died in plane crash off Gibraltar, 4 July 1943. 

Silaev, Ivan Stepanovich (b. 1930). Soviet, Russian official and minister. 
Deputy prime minister, USSR, 198 5 -1990; chair, Committee for Oper- 
ational Direction of the National Economy, USSR, and prime minister, 
1990-1991; Russian representative to European Union, 1991-1994. 

Sinegubov, N. I. Soviet security official. GB senior major, 1939-1940. Ap- 
pointed by Politburo decision as head and, simultaneously, deputy 

Biographical Sketches 


head, Investigative Department, GTU, September 1939. Among those 
in charge of executing Polish POWs from Ostashkov camp in Kalinin/ 
Tver, spring 1940, he was rewarded by Beria, 26 October 1940. 

Sitarianov, Stepan Aramaisovich (b. 1930). Soviet, Russian economist, 
academician. Deputy prime minister, USSR, 19 89 -1990. Director, In- 
stitute of International Economic Studies, Russian Academy of Sci- 
ences, 1989-1990. 

Skarzyriski, Kazimierz (1887-1962). Polish industrialist and secretary 
general, Executive Board of the Polish Red Cross, 1940-1945. He re- 
ported on his visit to Katyn, April 1943; edited the PRC Technical Com- 
mission report, June 1943; and gave a copy to the British Embassy, War- 
saw, March 1946. Accused of collaboration with the Germans, he 
escaped from Poland and settled in Canada; testified before Madden 
Committee, 1952. 

Skubiszewski, Krzysztof (b. 1926). Polish professor, judge, international 
arbitrator, minister, author. Professor of international law, Adam Mick- 
iewicz University, Poznah; Polish foreign minister, 1989-1992. 

Smigly-Rydz [alternative: Rydz Smigly], Edward (1886-1941). Polish of- 
ficer and artist. Born in former Russian Poland, he was a close collabo- 
rator of Pilsudski's, as a Legionnaire officer, 1914-1917; commander 
of P.O. W., 1914-1918; and commander of an army in the Polish-Soviet 
War, 1920. Inspector general of the army, 1921-1935; marshal, No- 
vember 1936; army inspector general; commander in chief, September 
1939. Interned in Romania, he escaped via Hungary to Poland to join 
the underground military resistance there, but was rejected. He lived 
under an assumed name in Warsaw and died of heart disease. Buried in 
the military section of Old Powazki Cemetery as Adam Zawisza, school- 
teacher. Author of reflections, published posthumously in Paris, 1962, 
on whether Poland could have avoided war in 1939. 

Smirnov, Sergei Petrovich (b. 1898). Soviet security official. As deputy 
head of 1st Special Department, NKVD, UkSSR, 1989-1990, responsi- 
ble for drawing up reports on and list of Polish prisoners held in Ukrain- 
ian NKVD jails as a basis for their execution. 

Smorawiriski, Mieczyslaw Makary (1893 -1940). Polish brigadier gen- 
eral. Born in former Russian Poland, he studied chemistry at Lwow 
Polytechnic, 1912-1914. Veteran, Polish Legions and Polish-Soviet 
War; commander, Lublin Military District, 1934-1939. Began to orga- 
nize a command at Kowel [Kovel] in mid-September 1939. Acting on 
Marshal Smigfy-Rydz's order not to fight the Soviets, he gave his troops 
the choice of either surrendering or making their way to Hungary and 
thence to France. He negotiated the surrender of the town of Wlodzi- 

Biographical Sketches 

mierz-Wofyriski [Volodymyr-Volynskyi] with Red Army authorities, al- 
lowing the disarmed Polish troops to march under Soviet escort to the 
Bug River. They were, however, stopped immediately, escorted back to 
the town, placed in jail, and later moved to POW camps. General 
Smorawihski opted to go to Hungary but was caught, placed in the spe- 
cial camp in Kozelsk, and shot at Katyn. 

Solski, Adam Teofil (1895-1940). Polish major; author of diary for the 
years 1939 -1940. Born in former Austrian Poland; veteran, Polish Le- 
gions and Polish-Soviet War; served in Personnel Office, War Ministry. 
Mobilized to reserve center, 14th Infantry Division, September 1939. 
Held in Kozelsk camp and shot at Katyn. Diary found and restored in 
1943; published in 1989. 

Soprunenko, Pyotr Karpovich (1908 -1992). Soviet security official. 
Worked as assistant in NKVD Secretariat in 193 8 and won Beria's confi- 
dence. As head of UPV, September 1939-early 1944, oversaw all POW 
matters. Supervised "clearing out" the three special camps until mid- 
April 1940, when he was replaced in Moscow by Khokhlov, and again in 
May. Was deposed as a witness to the Katyn massacre in October 1990. 

Sosnkowski, Kazimierz (1885-1969). Polish general. Born in Warsaw, 
former Russian Poland. Completed high school, Warsaw and St. Peters- 
burg; studied at Lwow Polytechnic. Closest cooperator with Pilsudski, 
1905-1918; Legionnaire, 1914-1916; arrested and imprisoned in Ger- 
many with Piisudski, 1917-1918. Deputy minister of war, March- 
April 1920; organizer and commander of Reserve Army, May- August 
1920; minister of war, 1925-1926. Commander, Southern Front, Sep- 
tember 1939; escaped and joined Sikorski government in France. In 
charge of underground resistance, September 1939-30 June 1940. Vice 
president, Polish government in London, 1940-1941; resigned from 
government in protest over the lack of Soviet recognition of the 1921 
Polish-Soviet frontier in Sikorski-Maisky agreement of 30 July 194 1. 
Vice president of Poland, July 1943, and commander in chief, Polish 
Armed Forces West, July 1943-30 September 1944; he was dismissed 
after openly accusing the British government of not fulfilling its obliga- 
tions as an ally of Poland. After World War II, lived in England, then set- 
tled in Canada; his remains were reinterred in St. John's Cathedral, 
Warsaw, 1992. Author of studies and memoirs. 

Stalin, Joseph [Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili] (1879-1953). Soviet 
leader. Born in Georgia, he was a member of Vladimir I. Lenin's Bolshe- 
vik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party, 1903 -19 17; he was 
general secretary of the CPSU, 1922, and built up his power as a party 
bureaucrat, 1922-1928. As Soviet leader, 1928-1953, he carried out 

Biographical Sketches 

forced collectivization of peasant farms at the cost of millions of lives. 
He also carried out forced industrialization. He implemented wholesale 
purges of the CPSU, 193 5 -193 8, decimated the Red Army officer 
corps, and presided over an enormous expansion of the GULAG. He 
opted for Hitler in 1939, when the USSR concluded a Non-Aggression 
Pact and Secret Protocol with Germany, 23 August 1939, followed by a 
Border and Friendship Treaty with Germany, 28 September 1939. He 
approved and perhaps initiated the Politburo approval of Beria's reso- 
lution of 5 March 1940 to shoot Polish POWs in the three special 
NKVD camps and in NKVD prisons in western Belorussia and Ukraine. 
He led the USSR to final victory over Germany and established Soviet 
domination over most of Eastern Europe, 1944-1945. Denounced by 
Khrushchev in February 1956 for the "cult of personality" and unjust 
sentencing of many party members, his massive crimes were uncovered 
in the Gorbachev era. Many Russians, however, still see him as a great 
leader who defeated Hitler and made the USSR a world power. 

Steinberg, Baruch (1897-1940). Head rabbi, Polish Army, 1936. Born in 
Tarnopol region, former Russian Poland (later Poland, now Ukraine), 
into a rabbinical family. Volunteered for service in a riflemen's company 
organized by P.O.W., 19 18, and served in Polish Army in Polish-Soviet 
War, 1919-1920. Later, he continued his studies of eastern languages in 
Krakow and Lwow. Awarded Polish military decorations; from 1928, 
head rabbi in Polish Military Districts I and H. Deputy head rabbi, Pol- 
ish Army, 1930; rank of major, 1934. Head rabbi, 1936; also senior 
rabbi in Warsaw Military District. Held in Starobelsk camp. Survivor 
accounts report his emphasis on the unity of all Poles, regardless of reli- 
gion. He was taken prisoner in September 1939 and taken out of Staro- 
belsk camp on 24 December; his name appears on an NKVD Kozelsk 
camp list in April 1940. He is listed as shot at Katyn. 

Stelmakh, I. I. Soviet security officer. GB lieutenant, 1940. As comman- 
dant of internal prisons in the Smolensk region, he participated in exe- 
cuting the Polish officers from Kozelsk camp. Rewarded by Beria, 26 
October 1940. 

Stepanov, Ivan Alekseevich (b. 1890). Soviet security officer. Colonel and 
deputy head, Operations Department, GUKV [Main Administration of 
Convoy Troops], NKVD, 1940-1947. In Kozelsk camp, in charge of 
transporting Polish POWs to Smolensk and Gnezdovo, March-May 
1940. Rewarded by Beria, 26 October 1940. 

Sukharev, Aleksandr Yakovlevich (b. 1923). Soviet law official. First 
deputy minister of justice, 1970-1984; minister, 1984-1988; prosecu- 
tor general, 1988-1990. 

410 Biographical Sketches 

Swianiewicz, Stanislaw (1899 -1997). Polish economist, Katyn survivor. 
Born and raised in Russia to 19 18. Veteran, Polish-Soviet War, 19 19- 
19Z0. Specialist on Nazi and Soviet economies, Stefan Batory Univer- 
sity, Wilno, late 1930s. In Kozelsk camp, 1939-1940; survived because 
NKVD wanted him for interrogation. Held in NKVD prisons, 1940- 
1941; sentenced to eight years for "espionage" and sent to northern la- 
bor camp complex, Komi ASSR. When released, he joined the Polish 
Army under Anders in the USSR, spring 1942. After World War II, he 
was a university professor in Halifax, Canada; he published a book on 
forced labor in the Soviet economy in 1985. Died in London. Author of 
Katyn memoirs. 

Syromiatnikov, Mitrofan Vasilievich (b. 1908). Soviet security officer, 
Kharkov. As militia lieutenant in the Kharkov Oblast UNKVD, partici- 
pated in executions of Polish officers from Starobelsk camp in NKVD 
prison, Kharkov, spring 1940; rewarded by Beria, 26 October 1940. 
Was deposed during Soviet, then Russian Katyn investigation in 1990- 
1992 as a witness to the massacre of Polish POW officers in Kharkov, 
spring 1940. 

Sysoev, Vasily Nikonovich (b. 1908). Soviet security official. Militia 
sergeant and senior inspector, URO [Reception, Records, and Barracks 
Assignment Section], Yukhnov camp, winter 1939-1940. Acting head, 
2nd Section (URO), Starobelsk camp, early March 1940; participated 
in "clearing out" the camp. 

Tatarenko, [first name not known]. Soviet security officer. Commander, 
2nd Company, Detached 136th NKVD Convoy Battalion, 1940; in 
charge of operational group "clearing out" Kozelsk camp. Rewarded 
by battalion commander, 21 May 1940. 

Tikhonov, P. P. Soviet security officer. GB captain and deputy head, 
UNKVD Administration, Kharkov region, 1940. Participated in execu- 
tion of Polish Starobelsk POWs in NKVD prison in Kharkov; rewarded 
by Beria, 26 October 1940. 

Timoshenko, Semyon Konstaninovich (189 5 -1970). Soviet general. 
Commanded Ukrainian Front, September 1939; accepted surrender of 
Polish Army units under General Wladyslaw Langner in Lwow. Led So- 
viet offensive in Finland, 1939-1940; defense commissar, 1940-1941, 
then deputy commissar, also commander of fronts in German-Soviet 
War, 1941-1945. Postwar commander of South Ural and Belorussian 
Military Districts; inspector general, 1960-1961. 

Tishkov, Arseny Vasilevich (b. 1909). Soviet security official. GB lieu- 
tenant and head, 1st Special Department, UPV, 1939-1940. In charge 
of operation to expose Polish POW officers and police in Narkomcher- 

Biographical Sketches 


met camps, and transferring them to the three special camps, April- 
June 1940; also transferred 8,000 POWs from Narkomchermet camps 
to Sevzheldorlag. 

Tiulenev, Ivan Vladimirovich (1892-1978). Soviet general. Army com- 
mander 2nd rank, 1939; general, 1940. Commander, Kamenets- 
Podolsk (Southern) Army Group (12th Army) of Ukrainian Front, Sep- 
tember 1939. Commander of war fronts in 1941-1945. 

Tokarev, Dmitry Stepanovich (1902-1993). Soviet security official. As 
GB colonel and head of UNKVD, Kalinin Oblast, spring 1940, oversaw 
shooting of Polish POWs from Ostashkov camp in NKVD prison, 
Kalinin/ Tver. Was deposed in March 199 1 by Soviet Katyn investiga- 
tors as witness to 1940 executions. 

Trainin, Aron Naumovich. Soviet law professor; member of Soviet Acad- 
emy of Sciences. Academic consultant in Soviet delegation at the Inter- 
national Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1946. 

Tsanava, Lavrenty Fomich [real surname: Dzhanzhgava] (1900-1955). 
Soviet security official. GB senior major, 1939; commissar, NKVD, 
BSSR, 1938-1941. One of Beria's most trusted henchmen, he partici- 
pated in organizing mass executions and torture of Soviet citizens. In 
charge of "clearing out" prisons in western Belorussia, April-May 
1940. Commissar, then minister, of Belorussian State Security, 1943- 
195 1, and deputy minister, 1951-1952. Dismissed from his post, Feb- 
ruary 1952; arrested, April 1953; died in prison. 

Ulrikh, Vasilii Vasilevich (1889-1951). Soviet lawyer, official. As chair of 
the Military Board, Supreme Court, USSR, 1926-1948, participated in 
Stalin purges, 193 5 -193 8, and allegedly "verified" Polish Starobelsk 
POWs for execution in NKVD Kharkov prison, spring 1940 (Syromiat- 
nikov deposition). Conducted the rigged trial of sixteen kidnapped Pol- 
ish underground leaders in Moscow, June 1945. Head of Soviet delega- 
tion at the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 1946. 

Vorobyev, Nikolai Alekseevich. Soviet security official. Senior political 
instructor, 1926-1948. Member, Political Section, 1st Department, 
GUGB, 1939. Deputy head, Political Department, UPV, late September 

1939. Made trips to POW camps with Nekhoroshev. 

Voroshilov, Kliment Yefremovich (1881-1969). Soviet marshal. Close as- 
sociate of Stalin's. Deputy chairman, then chairman, Soviet Defense 
Council, 1940-1941. Marshal of the Soviet Union, 1940. As Politburo 
member, signed the decision to shoot Polish prisoners of war, 5 March 

1940. Held high political appointments, 1945 -1953; chairman, Presid- 
ium of Supreme Soviet, 1953 -i960; member of Politburo/Presidium of 
CC CPSU, 1926-1960. Stripped of all his posts by Khrushchev in 1961. 


Biographical Sketches 

Vyshinsky, Andrei Yanuarevich (1883-1955). Soviet lawyer, minister. 
Chief prosecutor at the Stalinist purge trials, 1936-1938. CC member, 
1939-1955. As deputy foreign commissar, then deputy foreign minis- 
ter, 1940-1949, was in charge of government commissions to guide the 
Soviet delegation at the International Military Tribunal, Nuremberg, 

Walesa, Lech (b. 1943). Leader of Polish Solidarity movement and presi- 
dent of Poland. An electrician at the Gdansk shipyards in August 1980- 
December 198 1, he led the Solidarity movement, the first mass work- 
ers', then national movement in the Soviet bloc. It demanded free trade 
unions, human and religious rights, and self-government for state enter- 
prises, demands taken up nationally for all types of associations. As 
leader of the Gdansk Solidarity movement, he signed an agreement with 
the government in the Gdansk shipyards, 31 August 1980 (a similar 
agreement was signed in Szczecin on 30 August); later he headed the 
movement as a whole. Crushed by martial law in December 1981, the 
movement survived underground to negotiate a series of agreements 
with the government-party leadership in spring 1989. Walesa, interned 
from December 1981 to November 1982, received the Nobel Peace 
Prize for leading the peaceful Solidarity movement. Elected president of 
Poland, December 1990. Corresponded with President Yeltsin of Rus- 
sia on Katyn. Lost election for second term in office to Aleksander 
Kwasniewski, December 1995, and lost another reelection bid to Kwas- 
niewski in 2005. Today, Solidarity is not a party but a Polish labor 
union, one of many. Walesa resigned from Solidarity in early 2006 be- 
cause he disagreed with the new leadership. Author of autobiography. 

Wasilewska, Wanda (1905 -1964). Polish left-wing socialist, writer, polit- 
ical activist. Member of the prewar left-wing Polish Socialist Party 
(PPS). Led group of Polish communists and left-wing socialists in Lwow, 
1939-1941. A secret Ukrainian Communist Party member, she was 
elected to the West Ukrainian national assembly, then to the Supreme 
Soviet. Her third husband was the Ukrainian writer Oleksandr Kornei- 
chuk [Kornijchuk]. She was head of the ZPP [Union of Polish Patriots in 
the USSR], 1943 -1946, and deputy chair, Polish Committee of Na- 
tional Liberation, July-December 1944. After World War II, lived in 
Kiev. Author of posthumously published memoirs recorded on tape in 
her lifetime. 

Wolkowicki, Jerzy (1883-1983). Polish general. Born in former Russian 
Poland. Russian naval lieutenant; awarded St. George's Cross for brav- 
ery at the Battle of Tsushima, 1905. In the Polish Army under Haller in 
France, 1918-1919; fought in Polish-Soviet War. Held various posts in 

Biographical Sketches 


Polish Army and retired, August 1938; recalled to active service, Sep- 
tember 1939. Survivor, Kozelsk and Griazovets camps; noted in NKVD 
reports as a troublemaker. He may have survived because he was 
known as a hero to many Russians from the popular historical novel 
Tsushima, by Soviet writer Aleksei Ivanovich-Novikov Priboi (1st En- 
glish translation, New York, 1937). WoJkowicki was in the Polish Army 
under Anders in the USSR and the Middle East. After World War II, set- 
tled in England. Died in London. 

Yakovlev, Aleksandr Nikolaevich (19Z3-2005). Soviet official. One of 
the chief architects of Gorbachev's perestroika and glasnost policies, he 
is best known for investigating and rehabilitating victims of Stalinism. 
A prominent supporter of Gorbachev's policies as a CC, then Politburo 
member, he supported collecting and publicizing documents on the 
German-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact and the Katyn massacres. As a 
member of the Presidential Council, he did not seek reelection to the CC 
and left the Politburo in July 1990. Wrote articles and a book titled A 
Century of Violence in Soviet Russia (English edition, New Haven, 
Conn., 2003) vigorously condemning Russia's Soviet past. 

Yeltsin, Boris Nikolaevich ( 193 1-2007). Soviet party politician, president 
of the Russian Federation. Born into a peasant family in Butka village, 
Sverdlovsk [Yekaterinburg] region; obtained a degree in engineering 
and pursued a party career in Sverdlovsk. Member of the CC CPSU, 
1981; 1st secretary of the Moscow party committee, late 1985. Broke 
with Gorbachev and resigned from the party in October 1987. Won 
election as a delegate to Congress of Deputies, March 1989; elected to 
Supreme Soviet in 1990; and was the first democratically elected presi- 
dent of the Russian Republic of the USSR. Mobilized support to stop at- 
tempted coup against Gorbachev, August 1991; took over power from 
him and finalized the dissolution of the USSR in late December 199 1. In 
October 1992, allowed the publication of the 5 March 1940 Politburo 
resolution to shoot Polish POWS and gave copies of this and other 
Katyn documents to Polish President Lech Walesa. Elected president of 
the Russian Federation, 1996. Appointed Premier Vladimir Putin as 
acting president, 3 1 December 1999. Author of memoirs and subject of 

Yurasov, Ivan Alekseevich (b. 1890). Soviet security official. Until 1939, 
served in the GUKV; commissar, Ostashkov camp, September 1939- 
July 1940; participated in "clearing out" the camp. 

Zaleski, August (1883-1972). Polish diplomat, statesman. Born in for- 
mer Russian Poland (Warsaw). Worked for Polish independence in En- 
gland during World War I. Polish foreign minister, 1926-193 2; again, 


Biographical Sketches 

1939-1941 (Sikorski government). Resigned in protest over lack of So- 
viet recognition of the 1921 Polish-Soviet frontier in the Sikorski- 
Maisky agreement, 31 July 194 1. President of exiled Polish govern- 
ment, London, 1947-1972. 

Zarubin, Vasily Mikhailovich (1 894-1972). Soviet security official. 
GB major and senior operative, 5th Department (Intelligence), Main 
Directorate, GUGB, 1939-1940. Headed team of operatives in 
Kozelsk camp to investigate prisoners and recruit agents, late Octo- 
ber 1939, and played an active part in "clearing out" the camp, 
spring 1940. Sent as "resident" GUGB officer to United States, end 
of 1941, with personal instructions from Stalin. Retired with rank of 
major general, 1948, after which he held several low-ranking jobs 
courtesy of the KGB. 

Zhdanov, Andrei Aleksandrovich (1896-1948). Soviet party official. 
Close associate of Stalin's; party leader in Leningrad, 1932-1944; 
led city's defense against German siege, 1941-1943. Organized "so- 
cialist realism" in the arts. Played a prominent role in establishing 
the Communist Information Bureau [Cominform], 1947. 

Zhukov, Georgy Sergeevich. Soviet security officer. GB major, 1940; 
deputy head of Military Intelligence under General Panfilov; also 
deputy head of 1st Special Department, 2nd Administration, 
NKVD. Liaison officer with high command, Polish Army under An- 
ders in the USSR, 1941-1942. Subsequently, as GB commissar 3rd 
rank and Sovnarkom plenipotentiary, he was in charge of foreign 
formations on Soviet territory. Liaison officer with communist-led 
Polish Kosciuszko Division under General Berling, spring-summer 
1943. Allegedly drafted first official Soviet denial of responsibility 
for the Katyn massacre, 15 April 1943. 

Glossary of Organizations and 
Political Parties 

Belorussky Natsionalny Komitet [Belorussian National Committee]. Or- 
ganized by the Belorussian political leader Vyacheslav Adamowicz, Sr., 
the committee established itself as the Belorussian government in Octo- 
ber 1920, with General Stanislav Bulak-Balakhovitch [Polish: Bulak- 
Balachowicz] (1883-1943) as head of state. It coordinated activities of 
Belorussian organizations in Poland and illegal activities in the Soviet 
Belorussian Republic. See Zeleny Dub. 

Biskupa Kubina [Bishop Teodor Kubina's Organization]. Bishop Kubina 
(1880-1951), who headed the Czestochowa diocese, was linked to the 
small Catholic Narodowe Stronnictwo Pracy [National Labor Party] 
and exerted influence on the academic youth association Odrodzenie 

Bratstvo Russkoi Pravdy [BRP — Brotherhood of Russian Truth]. Russian 
emigre organization with branches in several countries. The NKVD ac- 
cused it of establishing insurrectionary and terrorist organizations in 
the USSR. 

Instytut Pamieci Narodowej — Komisja Scigania Zbrodni Przeciwko Nar- 
odowi Polskiemu [IPN — Institute of National Remembrance — Com- 
mission for Prosecuting Crimes against the Polish Nation]. Founded on 
the basis of the law of 18 December 1998, the IPN collects and controls 
access to documents of state security organizations drawn up between 
22 July 1944 and 31 December 1989; it also conducts prosecutions of 
Nazi and communist crimes and directs educational activities. The in- 
stitute accepts documents from various state archives as well as organi- 
zations and individuals. 

Komissia dlia Rossii [Commission for Russia]. Polish branch of an orga- 
nization established in 1924 and connected with the Vatican. Its goal 
was the union of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches in com- 



Organizations and Political Parties 

bating communism and the USSR. It trained cadres for work in eastern 

Komitet Pomoshchi Russkim Emigrantom [Aid Committee for Russian 
Emigres]. Self-help organization with headquarters in Warsaw and 
branches in most Polish towns. 

Komitet Zashchity Krestow [Polish: Komitet Obrony Krzyzow — Com- 
mittee for the Defense of Crosses]. According to the NKVD, this was a 
Catholic organization established by the Jedzierski ( Jezierski ? ) brothers 
from Mohylew [Mogilev] to work among Catholics living in the USSR. 

Komunistyczna Partia Polski [KPP — Polish Communist Party]. Formed in 
December 191 8 out of the left wings of the SKPiL [Social Democracy of 
the Kingdom of Poland and Lithuania] and PPS-Lewica [Polish Socialist 
Party, Left]. Its name was originally Komunistyczna Partia Robotnicza 
Polski [Communist Workers' Party of Poland], but it assumed the name 
Komunistyczna Partia Polski in 1925. It was dissolved by Stalin in 
1938, who had already ordered the shooting of its leading members 
who had sought asylum in the USSR. The official justification for the 
dissolution was infiltration by Polish police, but the real reason was the 
Trotskyite sympathies of its members. It was officially rehabilitated in 
February 1956, a few days before Khruschchev's famous speech at the 
Twentieth Congress of the CPSU, when Khruschchev admitted the rig- 
ging of the 193 5 -193 8 purge trials and condemned the Stalin personal- 
ity cult. 

Korpus Ochrony Pogranicza [KOP — (Polish) Frontier Protection Corps]. 
A special military formation under the Ministry of War, established in 
August 1924 to defend Poland's eastern borders. In case of war with the 
USSR, KOP was to cooperate with special infantry and cavalry regi- 
ments as cover for the deployment of Polish military formations. 

Legion Mladykh [Polish: Legion Mfodych — Legion of Youth]. An associ- 
ation established in February 1930 to support pro-government univer- 
sity students and young intelligentsia as a counter to the National Dem- 
ocratic Union of Polish Democratic Youth. 

National Democrats [Endeks]. Members of the nationalist party created 
in 1897 by Zygmunt Balicki (1856-1918) and Roman Dmowski 
(1864-1939) to fight for Poland's independence. Under different 
names, it was the major right-wing political movement in interwar 

Natsionalny Trudvoi Soiuz Novogo Pokolenia [NTSNP — National La- 
bor Union of the New Generation]. A Russian emigre organization for 
young people outside Russia, established in the early 1920s, with head- 
quarters in Belgrade and branches in most countries; the Polish branch 
was established in 1930. 

Organizations and Political Parties 


Orhanizatsiia Ukrainskykh Natsionalistiv [OUN — Organization of Ukrai- 
nian Nationalists]. A Ukrainian nationalist organization active in for- 
mer southeastern Poland, it was established in Vienna in 1929 and had 
its headquarters in Berlin. OUN carried out a series of terrorist actions 
in Poland, including attacks on Polish landlords and officials in summer 
1930, which provoked a Polish military "pacification," and the assassi- 
nation of Tadeusz Holowko, head of the Eastern Department of the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in 193 1. 

Osadniki [Polish: Osadnicy — Military Settlers]. Selected veterans of the 
Polish-Soviet War of 19 19 -1920 who were given farmland in eastern 
Poland in order to strengthen the Polish element there. Viewed by Soviet 
authorities as a "socially dangerous element," they and their families 
were deported from former eastern Poland in 1940. 

Pilsudchiki [Polish: Piisudczycy — Pilsudskiites]. Supporters of Jozef Pil- 
sudski (1867-1935), Polish soldier and statesman. 

Polska Organizacja Wojskowa [P.O.W. (Russian: POV) — Polish Military 
Organization]. Semisecret underground organization established by 
Jozef Pilsudski that recruited and trained military personnel for the fu- 
ture Polish Army under German occupation, 1914-1917. Active from 
19 17 to 19 19, it included units in Russia and Ukraine. Although it was 
dissolved in 1921, Soviet authorities claimed that it continued to exist; 
party and non-party members were charged with belonging to it in the 
Stalin purges of 1935-1938, and membership was a crime against the 

Polska Partia Robotnicza [PPR — Polish Workers' Party]. Established in 
Moscow, fall 1941, the first leaders were parachuted into the Warsaw 
region at the end of December 194 1. Its goal was to draw away support 
from the underground parties supporting the Polish government in 
London. After the death of the first two leaders, Wladyslaw Gomulka 
became the leader, without Moscow's prior consent, in 1943. It never 
enjoyed majority support in Poland and was replaced by the PZPR 
[United Polish Workers' Party] in December 1948. 

Polska Partia Socjalistyczna [PPS — Polish Socialist Party]. Founded in 
Paris on 21 November 1892 and in Warsaw in 1893, tne PPS fought for 
Polish independence and participated in the first Polish governments. It 
supported the Pilsudski coup d'etat in May 1926 but soon turned 
against him. Party representatives were in the Polish government-in -ex- 
ile and in the leadership of underground civilian resistance in occupied 
Poland during World War II. 

Polska Zjednoczona Partia Robotnicza [PZPR — United Polish Workers' 
Party] . Established in December 1948 from the union of the PPR [Polish 
Workers' Party] and the left wing of PPS [Polish Socialist Party], it was 


Organizations and Political Parties 

the ruling party in Poland until June 1989, when it lost the elections to 
the Solidarity bloc. 

Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc [PIS — Law and Justice]. Right-wing political 
party established in 2001 by the twin brothers Jaroslaw and Lech 
Kaczyhski. Under President Lech Kaczyhski, elected in October 2005, it 
has pursued the goal of uncovering all public officials who cooperated 
in the past with communist security services. Jaroslaw became head of 
the party in fall 2005 and premier in July 2006. 

Rossiiskii Obshchevoiskovoi Soiuz [ROVS — Russian All-Military Union]. 
Russian emigre organization with headquarters in Paris. In 1930 a 
branch was established in Wilno, Poland. 

Savinkovtsy [Savinkovites]. Russian emigres led by Boris V. Savinkov 
(1879-1925), who supported Pifsudski's federal plans, 1919-1920. 
Savinkov returned to Russia, was caught, and died in prison. 

Sionisty [Zionists]. Members of the Jewish Socialist Party, Poalei Sion, es- 
tablished around 1900. They worked for adoption of a socialist pro- 
gram in Poland, as well as for an independent Jewish state in Palestine. 
Split in 1918-1920, it lost its radical left wing. Members were active in 
Poland among Jewish workers. 

Soiuz Advokatov [Polish: Zwiazek Adwokatow Polskich — Polish Attor- 
neys' Union]. A professional organization accused by the NKVD of 
having contacts with the 2nd Department, Polish General Staff (Mili- 
tary Intelligence), and of infiltrating the Polish communist movement. 

Soiuz Byvshykh Voennykh [Union of Former Military Men]. Mainly vet- 
erans of General Bulak-Balakhovitch's Belorussian People's Volunteer 
Army, which existed in 1919-1922 and fought on the Polish side 
against the Red Army in 19 19 -1920. Bulak-Balakhovitch fought in de- 
fense of Warsaw, September 1939, and participated in Polish armed re- 
sistance against the Germans. He died in a Gestapo roundup in Warsaw 
in 1943. 

Soiuz Ofitserov [Polish: Zwiazek Oficerow Rezerwy R.P — Officers' 
Union of the Republic of Poland]. Established in 1922, it had about 
26,000 members in 1939. There was also a Union of Retired Officers 
with 4,000 members in 1939. 

Soiuz Povstantsev Volyni [Union of Volhynia Insurgents]. Veterans of 
anti-Bolshevik units in the Russian Civil War who fought on the Polish 
side in 1920. The NKVD accused the union of combating the commu- 
nist movement in the marshland Polesie region of eastern Poland. 

Soiuz Russkoi Molodzezhi [Union of Russian Youth]. Emigre self-help or- 
ganization active in the USSR and Lithuania. The NKVD accused it of 
receiving subsidies from Polish military intelligence. 

Organizations and Political Parties 


Soiuz Unter-ofitserov [Polish: Zwiazek Podoficerow Rezerwy — Noncom- 
missioned Reserve Officers' Union]. Established in western Poland in 
1922, it became a national union in 1926. A patriotic and self-help or- 
ganization, it had about 55,000 members in 1939. 

Sojusz Lewicy Demokratycznej [SLD — Democratic Left Alliance]. A 
party based on democratic socialist traditions, formed in Poland in 
1999. One of its founders, Leszek Miller (b. 1946), a former PZPR 
[United Polish Workers' Party] official, was premier in 2001-2005, 
when Aleksander Kwasniewski, an SLD member, was president. 

Streltsy [Polish: Strzelcy — Zwiazek Strzelecki — Riflemen's Association]. 
A national socioeducational youth organization founded in December 
1919 whose rank and file were mainly young workers and peasants. In 
independent Poland, it was subject to the Ministry of War. The associa- 
tion conducted sporting and paramilitary activities and was politically 
linked to the Pilsudskiites. 

Ukrainskoe Natsionalno-Demokraticheskoe Obiedinenie [UNDO — 
Ukrainian National-Democratic Union]. A Ukrainian nationalist orga- 
nization with liberal tendencies, established in Lwow in July 1925. 
UNDO was active mainly in former southeastern Poland and Volhynia 
(now both in western Ukraine). 

Zeleny Dub [Green Oak]. A peasant party organized in fall 1918 by the 
Belorussian political leader Vyacheslav Adamowicz, Sr. Active during 
and immediately after the Polish-Soviet War of 1919-1920 with the 
aim of creating an independent Belorussia, Zeleny Dub established a 
partisan movement supporting the Belorussian People's Volunteer 
Army, led by General Bulak-Balakhovitch. 

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Maps and Aerial Photographs 

For context and discussion see the introductions to Parts I, II, and III. 


424 Maps and Aerial Photographs 

Map z. The Partitions of Poland, 1773 -1795 

(From Norman Davies, God's Playground: A History of Poland, vol. I: The Origins to 
1795 [Oxford: Oxford University Press, 198 1; New York: Columbia University Press, 
1982], p. 512. Copyright 1981 and 1982 Norman Davies. Reprinted with permission from 
Oxford University Press and Columbia University Press.) 

Maps and Aerial Photographs 425 

Map 3. Poland under German and Soviet Occupation, 1939 -194 1 

Occupying Forces and Genocide in the Second Republic, 1918-1947 [Jefferson, N.C.: Mc- 
Farland, 1998], p. 8. Reprinted with permission from Eliza McClennen, Cartographer.) 

This page intentionally left blank 

Maps and Aerial Photographs 427 

Map 4. NKVD Special Camps for Polish Prisoners of War and the Sites of 
the Prisoners' Execution 

KDZ2, following p. 515.) 


Maps and Aerial Photographs 

Map 5. The Katyn-Gnezdovo Area, Russia, 1959 

1. Site of the eight mass graves created by the Soviets in 1940 to conceal the mur- 
dered Polish officers from Kozelsk camp. The site is near the center of the 
Katyn Forest, between the Smolensk-Vitebsk Highway and the Dnieper 
[Dnepr] River. The road leading through the forest and past the site was re- 
moved in this 1959 map by American cartographers, although it is evident in 
aerial images, as well as in German and Soviet-era maps. The villages of Katyn- 
Uspenskoe and Katyn-Pokrovskoe are approximately 6.2 kilometers west of 
the map area. 

2. Site of the dacha where the NKVD officers stayed, just above the loop of the 
Dnieper River. 

3. The farm of Parfemon Kiselev, the only witness who claimed to have heard 
gunshots. The farm is just over 1,000 meters east of the mass burial site. 

4. The Dnieper River, which sometimes, as it changes course, erodes ancient burial 
mounds and, in a few instances, as here, has exposed small burial pits appar- 
ently from the early Soviet era. 

5. Site of the railway siding, 1,500 meters northwest of Gnezdovo Station, where 
the Kozelsk prisoners were detrained, according to the witness Ivan Krivo- 
zertsev as related to the Polish journalist Jozef Mackiewicz. Near the siding are 
NKVD structures, possibly used for executions. 

6. Ancient burial mounds dating from the time of the Slavonic tribes (tenth cen- 
tury) and the subsequent Viking occupation. The Soviets, in Soviet War News 
(17 April 1943), stated that the Germans "remain silent" about their discovery 
of Polish mass graves near the archaeological excavations of the historic Gnez- 
dovo burials. An estimated 3,000 mounds still exist today; 2,000 or more may 
have been eroded away over the centuries by the meandering Dnieper River. 

7. A forested area where a dozen or more official Soviet dachas are evident in 
stereomicroscopic analysis of German Luftwaffe photographs from 1942. The 
long structures are storage buildings, also evident in the 1942 photographs. 
Even before the Russian Revolution, Gnezdovo and the area as far as Borok 
Station, near the two Katyn villages, were known for their scenic beauty and 
contained many country retreats for the Smolensk elite. Katyn Forest itself was 
owned, before the revolution, by two Polish noble families, the Lednickis and 

8. Gnezdovo Station. Stanisfaw Swianiewicz testified that he was detrained near 
the square by the station and witnessed NKVD vehicles taking Polish prisoners 
away from the train. 

9. Glu